In addition to providing voice and text messaging capabilities, BlackBerry smartphones allow you to send and receive email anywhere your phone receives a data signal. Your Blackberry can integrate with virtually any email account, including Gmail accounts, in its built-in email client. Many BlackBerrys can also use a special application to provide tighter integration with your GMail account.
Your BlackBerry can receive email directly from your Gmail account via IMAP. With this method, Gmail will send one copy of each incoming message to your BlackBerry and send another to your Gmail inbox. This will result in dual messages on your BlackBerry and in your Gmail account. You can also send messages from your Gmail address through your BlackBerry using this method. Enable IMAP in your Gmail settings and use the email setup wizard on your Blackberry to enable IMAP messaging on your BlackBerry. Google does not provide official support for IMAP between your BlackBerry's email client and Gmail.
Google's Gmail application allows you to access your Gmail inbox from your BlackBerry. By giving you direct access to your inbox instead of sending you copies of messages, the Gmail application avoids the issue of duplicate emails. The application's interface is very similar to the online interface. It allows you to view your emails in a conversation view, archive messages and search through your past messages. The Gmail mobile application also includes support for Gmail's labeling tools. In addition to receiving and sorting mail, you can also send mail from the application.
If you are just checking your mail on someone else's BlackBerry, or if you only use your Gmail account occasionally, you may prefer to access your account in the Blackberry's Web browser. The BlackBerry browser automatically loads Gmail's mobile interface when you access Gmail's web address (see Resources). Gmail will prompt you to perform a one-time log-in using your Gmail account credentials. The Web interface provides most of the same functionality as the standard web interface, but with mobile-friendly text and buttons. You can add a shortcut to the Web interface to your BlackBerry's home screen for regular access. The Web interface will not provide notifications to you when you receive new mail and it will not store your messages for offline access.
You can integrate Gmail's features directly into your BlackBerry's built-in email software using BlackBerry's Gmail Plug-In. The Gmail Plug-In gives you a Gmail style view of your messages, including message sorting by conversation and label. You can also perform Gmail functions, such as reporting a message as spam or archiving a message. directly from your BlackBerry email software. The plug-in will also notify you when you have new email, archive your messages for offline access and synchronize your contacts between your BlackBerry and Gmail. You can install the plug-in directly to your BlackBerry or through BlackBerry Desktop Manager 4.5 or later (see Resources).
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