A good portion of Google I/O was spent, naturally, on the design of applications, and Google apparently gave a little sneak peek at what probably is an upcoming redesign of the Gmail app. As evident in the Structure in Android App Design session, Jens Nagel shows off a redesign navigation drawer that combines several views into a single drawer-style UI.

As the slide above shows, there are different layers to the views, collapsed by default. And most important is that you can get to this drawer from anywhere in the app, which is what lets them get rid of that lower Action Bar. (It's almost in the same vein as the BlackBerry Hub in BB10, just at an application level instead of at the homescreen level.) It should also mean a much faster switch between labels, long a sore spot for some of us here.

If we had to guess, we'd expect to see an updated Gmail app roll out with the expected Android 4.3 update, whenever that's available.

Source: YouTube; via Android Police


Reader comments

Google gives sneak peek at probable future Gmail app design


With all of the effort to decouple Google's apps from Android updates, I'm not so sure we'll have to wait for Android 4.3 before seeing the updated GMail app.

One has nothing to do with the other here, especially because Gmail was turned into a "normal" app some time ago. But traditionally (the past few iterations) it's been updated with a new point release.

Well, let's hope it's sooner rather than later. If it's ready now, release it. I don't want Google to hold up releasing an updated GMail app just because Android 4.3 might not be ready for simultaneous release (regardless of history).

I totally agree with Phil's reply. But to continue on 4.3 (alone), I think Google is proving more than ever that a new OS version is not required to give an awesome experience to users. With all the changes made lately, beginning from the PlayStore redesign up to all the updates post-I/O, I could care less to have 4.3. ICS, JB, KLP (eventually), can all have a great experience. Because the apps do the experience, the OS is becoming more and more invisible and that is a great achievement on Google's part.

The future, I think, will be API updates with minor UI tweaks here and there. Maybe we won't see what's after KLP after all ...

You will still need OS updates for support of new technologies like low energy Bluetooth, new sensors etc.

New versions of an OS usually also contains bugfixing, code optimizations.

And lastly, for stock users, a new Android version could also see tweeks in the user interface.

Looks good but I don't think it will be with the 4.3 update, it will come add just a normal update I'm the next couple weeks :-)

Hopefully they will let us disable the conversation view. That's the worst thing about the app for me. I wish the preference of no conversation view synced from the net.

As an option, I can see that applying to some people's tastes.

For me, the conversation view is one of the best things about GMail. It keeps a topic all together and makes a long email thread easy to follow; so I don't have to do a search to find all the pieces of email thread from the conversation.

But, I agree, it should be an option in the app, just as it is on the website.

Agreed. Give users the option as to which way they want to view their email. Isn't one of Android's the selling points the fact that you can make it do what you want, not what the fruit vendor wants you to?

Yes, yes, YES! I remember seeing something about some groups trying to do another open source e-mail project, and one of the developers said "people want their e-mail like conversations." Not all of us. If it suits you, fine. I don't currently find it useful

IMHO, the whole Gmail experience should be simplified. The conversation view can only be enabled or disabled within the desk top, not the mobile version.
The labels and how mail is saved and deleted is another.

Just goes to show there are different requirements for different people. My Gmail setup is quite sophisticated with multiple labels, color-coding, filters, notifications, etc. I get tons of email daily. If I didn't have those tools, my inbox would quickly be overrun.

And with this implementation, any change of finally being able to put images in our signatures? We business users could really use that ability.

Not sure about everyone else, but I really wish all my signatures for my different email addresses synced up to the mobile app. Like work accounts and such.

Agreed. I would also love to see the inclusion of html in signatures. I have several work emails on my device that have webpage/twitter addresses in the signature....would be nice to have clickable links.

Agree with being able to switch off the conversation view...which I hope would also include better sorting(date, sender, etc.) capabilities. It's the main reason I still use the built in Moto email app over Gmail. A choice between light & dark modes would be cool to.

This is the same new style they're applying to all of their latest app revisions, including Play Books and Play Music. I assume overall this is both the replacement for Holo and the overall direction we'll see standard in 4.3.

I understand the need to keep the gmail app separate from the andoid system. But it seems to me that there needs to be a merging of the aosp email client and the gmail app at some point. In my opinion, the gmail app u.i. as it is is better than the email app's, but the email app doesnt support imap idle push. And, of course, the gmail app only I would love to have gmail support my exchange and pop accounts too.

the aosp email client is so bad that i have refused to load cm10 on my phone. the Moto client is much better, and since I have to use it, i would rather keep it.