Gmail Basic HTML View, Doesn’t Work With Pocket PC, BlackBerry

Gmail: Help Center – What’s the difference between ‘standard’ view and ‘plain HTML’ view?

Noticed this via Evan William’s Blog – Gmail now apparently has enabled the much-awaited-by-mobile-device-users basic HTML interface. Here’s the scoop, straight from their help pages:

In case you don’t have access to a fully supported browser, we still want you to have access to Gmail – that’s why we’ve developed a basic HTML view of our service that is compatible with almost any browser. If you sign in to Gmail using a browser that isn’t fully supported, you’ll automatically be directed to the basic HTML view.

The basic HTML view is a little different than what you’re used to because the following features aren’t available:

  • Filter creation
  • Settings (Including Forwarding and POP)
  • Spell checker
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Address auto-complete

If you need to access these features, please sign in to Gmail from a fully supported browser, and make sure you have cookies and JavaScript enabled.

I tried it out on my Dell Axim x50v Pocket PC, and on my Blackberry 7100t, with mixed results.

Sadly, on my Axim, all I ever got after logging in was a blank page with a red bar containing the word “Loading…” at the top. Tried many refreshes, but no dice. I think maybe because Pocket Internet Explorer identifies itself as a version of IE, Gmail’s trying to load the “standard view”, which doesn’t work. Google, can you please sniff the user agent strings more carefully to identify Windows CE/Pocket PC devices?

On the Blackberry, after a few long redirects, I was presented with a warning that the page contains frames, and prompted for which frame I wanted to view (main or js). The Blackberry browser doesn’t support frames. When I select the “main” frame, I get a page with “Loading…” that goes nowhere. If I choose the “js” frame, I get a “Page could not be loaded – it is too large for the device.”.


I guess the feature could not be implemented yet, and we just stumbled upon some pre-release documentation in their help system. Can anyone else report their results on other mobile devices, like the Treo or a Symbian device?

Google, we’d love it if you made a mobile device accessible view for Gmail. But you need to make sure it works on the most popular mobile devices (Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Smartphones, PalmOS, Symbian, BlackBerry, etc.).

Maybe someday…


4 thoughts on “Gmail Basic HTML View, Doesn’t Work With Pocket PC, BlackBerry

  1. I wonder if the upcoming release of Minimo for PPC will be able to load GMail up properly, since it’s supposed to be able to handle javascript and CSS just like its big brother Firefox… in any case, I’ve been using WebIS Mail to download my GMail to my iPaq using the POP3 access, and it works fine.. though I do fear that Google is likely to eventually charge for that service. Still, if you want to get your GMail onto your handheld *today*, WebIS Mail seems to be a doable solution. Has the added advantage of letting me read my GMail when I’m not actually connected to the network, too.:)

    Of course, the good thing about GMail, besides the searchability, is the usability of the interface and the keyboard shortcuts… keyboard shortcuts won’t do me much good on a handheld.. and I’ve a feeling that the GMail interface wouldn’t work quite as well in a cramped handheld screen. It’s likely that Google would have to design a separate interface specifically aimed at handheld-sized screens, even if the handheld could handle the javascript/CSS..

    Just some rambling thoughts…

  2. The Gmail interface worked flawlessly on a Palm TungstenC with both the native browser and the pro one. Oddly nobody in the Palm community is talking about it. Perhaps because we use POP3 access to it on the Palm. Dunno, but I went to look and it worked. Thanks for mentioning it even if it isn’t fully functional.

  3. I found that if you go into a html view in a compatible browser and then copy the address in your address bar (yes I know it takes a long time) into your windows ce device (or any device for that matter) you will be in stardard mode (as long as you signed in already on that device beforehand. I mean signed in on the gmail front page, and get your error, or whatever you get, and then put this address in. If you then click the gmail button on the top right, you can add that page to your fravorites, and come back to it anytime. It worked for me, hope it works for you.

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