In chapter two I’m sticking with the WiFi theme for my exploration of the LifeDrive, in part, because I think it leads to some of the device’s most useful features — for example, checking email while on the go.
I’ve always struggled a bit with email on Palm devices. Even thought I like the bundled VersaMail app, it seemed to wear me down over time to the point where I wasn’t checking my mail with it. Since the LifeDrive has such an excellent browser, Blazer, I thought I’d give web mail a try.
One of the great advantages of web mail on a Palm device is that you get to stay within one application for both mail and browsing. Since the Palm OS isn’t exactly a multi-tasking animal, this approach saves me a great deal of time. But how would Gmail feel about my plans? After all, Google’s email service has been know to be browser-picky.
I fired up Blazer and entered the Gmail URL. Much to my delight, the familiar Gmail logo popped right up on the screen. I did get the following message from Google at the top of my browser screen: “For a better Gmail experience, use a fully supported browser.” Well, thanks Google for the heads up, but actually my experience is pretty good so far.
The “Quick Reply” function in Gmail enables me to respond easily to mail, even if it’s just to say, “I’ll get back to you tonight on this…”. Most of the other functions seemed to work well too, such as “Archive” and “Star,” that is, until I tried to view an attachment.
Here’s where the music died. First, I wasn’t always given the option to download an attachment, even though I could see its paperclip icon. And when I was allowed to grab it, it was sometimes saved in a format I could view, and other times not. I had the best luck with attached JPEGs, and the worst with DOC files. I guess that’s what Google meant by “…use a fully supported browser.”
Attachments aside, I have to say that being able to check Gmail on the LifeDrive, and even manage my messages, is an unexpected bonus, and one that I’m using often. I’ll just have to wail until I get to the hotel before I can read those attachments.