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Some Clarification on Gmail Tabs and Mobile

8/20/13

By Ken Magill

Amid all the talk about Gmail tabs, there has apparently been a lot of muddled reporting on whether they are showing up on mobile devices or not.

Having seen the tabs appear on their mobile devices, multiple writers assumed Gmail was rendering that way everywhere.

But as I noted recently, the tabs do not appear when I access my Gmail account on my Android.

So what the heck is going on?

Magill Report reader Kirk Gray, interactive marketing manager, email, at American Public University System, posted a comment last week clarifying what is happening with Gmail tabs on mobile devices:

“If you use the Gmail app on your mobile device, the tabs show up. If you use the stock applications or another ‘mobile client’ they don't show up,” wrote Gray.

“There seems to be some misunderstanding in the email world about this. It boils down to, just like rendering, which client you use to read email on your mobile devices,” he continued.

“It's an all or nothing scenario with Gmail, if you use the Gmail app and the webmail, they're on everywhere - you can't pick which ‘client’ you want them turned on in. But if you use Gmail webmail, and the stock applications on either android or iOS, then they are on in the webmail but not on the phone.

“This is where I battle with people who advocate for full mobile responsive designs, we're not in a place yet that we can determine which mobile client readers are using.

“I suspect that most people who use iOS devices, use the stock app, and that people who use Android devices are most likely evenly split - either because the stock app is already there or they don't want to configure another mobile email app because they can't delete the stock apps from their phones,” wrote Gray.

[Editor’s note: Or a lot of people could be like me who didn’t know there was a Gmail app because the stock app on their phone works just fine. The more I read about Gmail tabs, the more I think a bunch of folks are getting worked up over a whole lot of nothing. Focus on your offers. Craft compelling subject lines. Stop worrying. Also, check out Gray's blog at blog.browserspencer.com]

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