GMail via Java ME

google.gifI just had a play with Google’s new Java ME application that allows faster and easier access to GMail.

The press release says…

"It is currently compatible with all J2ME-enabled phones in the U.S. and works with a variety of carrier service plans."

I am in the UK but I thought I’d give it a go anyway. The WAP download page said…

"We are not sure the Gmail application will work correctly on your phone"

I managed to download and install on a Sony Ericsson M600i. I was surprised the app was untrusted as it then required explicit user permission to connect every session. On connecting I got the error "An unexpected error occurred during program execution". It seems other people have had similar problems.

Update :  The app does work in the UK… just not with my GMail account. I tried my wife’s (newer) account and it works. The instructions about compatible countries/networks previously led me to believe it was something to do with being in the UK. Incidentally, I have also found a phone compatibility listing.

It seems Google have a problem with some types of account. Maybe it’s to do with different types of GMail account or an account’s settings. More meaningful error messages might give us a clue.

As an aside, if you have a M600i or any other smartphone for that matter, just use GMail POP access from the phone’s built-in email application. It works very well and is much easier to use than mobile web access. Received email remains in your GMail account.  Furthermore, if you use the GMail SMTP (smtp.googlemail.com) to send email, your sent email will also end up in your GMail ‘Sent Mail’ folder. Phones such as the M600i also allow you to poll periodically for messages which gives the same benefit of having push email (with higher data use of course).