30 Days with Android - Day 1 Intro

Day 1:
Like many folks at LBL, I've been using an iPhone for several years now. Lately, I've been getting a number of questions about Android devices in terms of how they work with Google Apps, so I'm spending this month with a Samsung Galaxy S to get a better feel for how it works with our services. I'll be providing a few updates throughout the month, looking at the interaction with LBL apps as opposed to the overall differences between the two platforms (there are plenty of people online pontificating about that).

My Day 1 experience was nicely straightforward. Once I had provided my LBL Google Account credentials to my Android phone, my mail, contacts, and calendar all synced mostly as I expected. I experienced a few minutes of confusion with the difference between the mail app and the gmail app on the phone (you want the gmail one), but that was taken care of pretty quickly.

I'm sure there is a way to manage this, but I noted that all my LBL Google Apps contacts were synced to the phone, as opposed to just the ones in the Most Contacted directory, so my Galaxy S has a number of meaningless contacts in it that don't make a lot of sense - no big deal. Scrolling through the contacts, I liked that Google "presence" information is delivered next to my contacts for all Google users including LBL ones - I get a little green indicator that indicates whether the person is online and active in gmail/gtalk right next to their contact information.

One of the things I'm most excited about - and one of the things that frustrates me most about using the iPhone's built in mail app, is working more effectively with labels and stars. While I'm not an obsessive labeler, I often read email on my iPhone that I know I need to take care of later. I want to star those or mark them "todo," but there isn't a really easy way to do that on iPhone. The mapping of folders to labels thing is pretty inconvenient. In my next update, I'll talk about the Gmail App on Android's capabilities with regard to labels.