Smartphone Blues: S60 and Gmail

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I am not sure what is going on between Symbian S60 devices and Gmail, but I am not having fun. In recent times (several months in view), I have had consistently bad experiences with Nokia’s S60 devices, namely the E90 and the E75, with regards the use of Gmail.

It is like a game of cat-and-mouse. First, on the E90 communicator, once Gmail is setup, the messaging application simply goes into a comatose state. Getting anything done on it becomes next to impossible. My corporate mail works without issues, but once Gmail is configured…..

Installing Nokia Messaging seemed to help at first, and things went smoothly for just a while. Thereafter, the email application started acting like a possessed creature, and eventually went comatose again.

The E75, a much newer device, gave me the very same issues. Actually, this singular problem with Gmail informed my selling it just about a month after purchase. This is an official statement from Nokia on the issue:

We are aware of a Nokia Messaging issue that’s currently impacting Gmail and Google Apps email accounts. The problem is that sometimes email synchronizes to the device after a significant delay. Email synchronization will eventually resume automatically, but there’s currently no workaround available at this time. We are actively investigating this issue, and we are trying to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconveniences this issue may cause.

Thank you,
Jeremiah Nielsen
Nokia Messaging
26-Aug-2009 07:57 PM
Source: Nokia Support Discussions: E75 reports (no messages) with Nokia Messaging Gmail account

To make matters worse, the built-in S60 browser on the E90 won’t load the Gmail webmail interface or its mobile version. So, here I am holding a smartphone that costs over N80, 000 on the market but can’t access Gmail on it at all.

03112009002Now, check this. My wife’s dumbphone, a pink Sony Ericsson W595, handles Gmail without any issues whatsoever! Is this sort of thing supposed to be happening? High-end smartphones acting dumb, and mid-tier dumbphones acting smart?

In order not to be unfair to smartphones in general, may I add that Gmail works flawlessly on all Android and Windows Mobile smartphones that I have used or tried out. This seems to be strictly a Symbian problem.

What am I supposed to think of all this?

13 comments

  1. Thank God for alternatives. In the mobile world, there are almost always capable alternatives (either in terms of software or hardware. Getting your email on the go (push-email) is handled REALLY well by a number of applications. I wonder why anybody would need to use the Nokia Messaging application?

    ‘Seven’ (www.seven.com) & ‘Emoze’ (o.emoze.com) work quite well on my smartphones (running Symbian S60 Version 3 & Version 5 respectively). I believe the Nokia you mentioned are both Symbian S60 version 3.

    These push-email applications both have Java (less powerful and feature-rich) versions too for ‘dumbphones’.

    They both allow you to configure several email addresses and (optionally get notified once a mail comes in). Who needs a black(blue)berry with applications such as these! Flurry (of flurry.com) used to offer a similar service but have now gone into a different line of business.
    Quite neat!

  2. Actually gmail works quite well on my e75. i push my mail to it quite easily as well. maybe u shud consider using opera mini

  3. Did you try using other networks just in case it’s not a problem with the phone but with the telecom company. This post kinda creeps me out cos my E63 has been purchased already and arrives next week. I can’t bear having problems with Gmail cos that’s my principal email account.

  4. Femi,

    You said:

    maybe you should consider using opera mini

    That’s beside the point. The point is, Why should I spend N80, 000 on a smartphone and it can’t handle what a N24, 000 phone handles effortlessly? Even the Nokia 3600 Slide (running s40) handles my Gmail account without any issues.

    In addition, if I go with Opera Mini, I have to do without certain features that I use regularly.

  5. Chukwudi,

    You asked:

    Did you try using other networks just in case it’s not a problem with the phone but with the telecom company?

    Severally.

    – Gmail with Zain on E90: problems
    – Gmail with Zain on E75: problems
    – Gmail with MTN on E90: problems

    Note also that I have tested this on two different Nokia E90s, and had the same problems with both units. Both units were also running the latest firmware.

    For now, I have installed a more recent version of Nokia Messaging, and things have been running smooth for about a week now. But I am still apprehensive, because in the past, things seem to work well for a while before the fireworks kick in again.

    I don’t think you should fear; it does not seem to be a prevalent problem, as most S60 users I know of have never had issues with Gmail on their smartphones.

    Perhaps there is a bug that’s triggered in S60 by my Gmail account? 😀

  6. EyeBeeKay,

    Here’s another problem: why should I have to pay extra to access my Gmail account via 3rd party services like Seven and Emoze, when lowly phones like the W595 and 3600 Slide both give me that access without any issues?

    It is just insane.

    Also, the free version of Emoze lets you configure only one email account. i tried out Gmail on it, and it failed to login each time. This I repeated with SIMs from different networks. No show!

  7. It has been about 2 hours now and Nokia Messaging is not synchronising my email accounts. Server down or more serious issues?

  8. @Yomi: the situation seems to be the same here. I keep getting “RESPONSE UNKNOWN” on my phone’s wap browser despite the fact that other sites open without a hitch. I think it might be a problem with gmail on wap browsers.

  9. @Yomi: It’s the same thing with them all. Etisalat, Glo and MTN. Response unknown seems to be the order of the day. I thank God for my aunt’s dial-up connection if not I’d have to shelling out 200 naira @ the cybercafe. Even 2am this morning, the story remains the same.

    I don tire.

    P.S: I’ve read those articles already. Thanks.

  10. Chukwudi,

    Interesting. Odd, because I am able to access it on Glo at the moment.

    Come to think of it, I do not remembering ever running into such an issue on a Windows Mobile device. Or perhaps it is my memory failing me.



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