The introduction of an official, native Gmail app was a compelling idea: It promised the full mail experience, integrated right into your iOS device. That’s why we were so excited to hear about it being free and available in the iTunes Store today. But alas, it’s been taken down. A perfunctory tweet sent out from the official @gmail Twitter account read, “The iOS app we launched today contained a bug with notifications. We have pulled the app to fix the problem. Sorry we messed up.”
We noticed that the hastily put together app consistently displayed an error when we fired it up: “No valid ‘aps-environment’ entitlement string found for application.” (See screenshot below.) The half-baked app also promised push notifications for all incoming e-mail, but when we tried it on both our iPhone and iPad 2, we got the notification for new mail from the stock Mail app almost instantly, while Gmail’s native app never pinged us once.
Twitter and the web exploded with complaints following the release of Gmail’s app, including charges leveled against the app’s inability to support multiple Gmail accounts, how the app seemed to be a poorly packaged HTML 5 version, choppy scrolling, and the inexplicable ability to load only 20 messages at a time (you had to load both more recent as well as older messages to view anything beyond the snapshot of 20 e-mails you were allowed at a time).
It’s unclear when Google will re-release its Gmail app for iOS, but hopefully the next iteration will be more usable and bug-free.