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iPhone and Android handsets get offline Gmail

Google won't confirm when web app will be available

Google is working on a mobile version of Gmail that allows Apple iPhone and Google Android handset owners access their email offline.

VP of engineering, Vic Gundotra, demonstrated the technology, which is browser based and requires no mobile software application downloads, at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week.

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Gundotra said the 'technical concept' application of Gmail, which stores on the device it is used on not only a user's data, but also the software itself.

The most notable use of this technology is allowing offline access to emails in Gmail.

Google's Gmail application is based on a new web language (HTML5), supported by both iPhone's web browser and Android devices. Gundotra showed how the application would run on both Apple's and Google's mobile platforms, without the need to have a certain application installed on the phone.

Besides offline email access, the upcoming Gmail web app features a floating toolbar that tracks users' email browsing (eg when selecting two or more emails the toolbar shows up giving you the option of deleting, forwarding, etc) and also support for message labeling.

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Google's Gundotra demonstrated the application on an iPhone 3G and on a HTC Magic, the latest Google Android phone that was also unveiled at MWC this week, stressing how fast the web app ran.

Google 'forgot' to mention when the new version of the Gmail web app will get released. However, with offline Gmail access already available, this mobile implementation of the feature shouldn't be too far away.

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