Yesterday, I had a most disappointing experience with Gmail for Android on the Samsung Galaxy S II. It was a very simple task that I needed done – one that millions of people do everyday: attach a PDF file to a reply that I was sending in response to a business enquiry.
How difficult could that be?
Here’s the process that everyone I know on this planet is used to:
- Mail arrives. You receive notification. Check.
- You open email and read. Check.
- You click “Reply” and compose menu is launched. Check.
- You type out your response. Check.
- Select “Attach file/s” (or equivalent) in menu. Check.
- You browse file system to pick the file that you want. Bzzzzt!
The Gmail app wouldn’t let me choose the file I wanted. It gave me only the option to pick a media file from the Gallery. I retried and retried, and got the same destination: Gallery. Ladies and gentlemen, this is April 2012, mind you.
Gmail for Android: Not Ready For Business
I had typed out a detailed response and now could not attach a business document. I had to work around it by going to the File Manager on the phone, find the file, and select the option to send it via email, then manually fill out the “To” and “Subject” fields, then go back to the earlier material I had typed out to copy it and paste in this new interface.
That is like Apple telling people that they were holding the iPhone wrong. Silly. This is how everybody sends an attachment in an email reply. Why should anyone ever have to launch a file manager to send an attachment?
Kludgy. Time-wasting. Frustrating. In 2012.
So much for user-friendliness.
Nokia Belle and BlackBerry Get It Right
To be sure that I had my head screwed on right, I later picked up my Nokia E7 and the BlackBerry 9380 that I am currently reviewing, found the mail and clicked “Reply”. In minutes and without any fuss, I had the PDF file attached to my reply – right from inside the Compose menu of the mail applications of those devices. Duhhhh.
No; Gmail for Android is simply not ready for business.
Generic Email client for Android
While the generic email client for Android is said to take care of thiss, it has its own different set of issues. I won’t go into all that, but suffice it to know that after configuring the generic email client for Microsoft Exchange, it has been in a state of loading my mails since yesterday – and has not quite succeeded yet.
Fancy UIs Versus Functionality
You guys hug and kiss and caress those fancy user interfaces all you like. Yesterday’s event was a reminder of why I love my Nokia Belle and BlackBerry devices – they do the simple basic stuff that everyone expects them to do. They may not look and feel as dandy as Android and iOS.
But what do I care? They do what I need them to do. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.