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Email is the arena for an almighty battle of innovation right now. Ever since Mailbox introduced its shiny new side-swipe sorting to iOS, there have been innumerable reinventions of the veteran communication platform, with new clients arriving, by the bucket-load, on pretty much every OS.

Android has been no exception to this rush — in fact, it has been at the forefront. Google, itself, has made the official Gmail app a market leader in terms of intuitive design, whilst apps such as SolMail and Dextr are well-made alternatives, each with a slightly different approach to inbox sifting and sorting. There are plenty more where those came from, as well.

Take new email client, CloudMagic, for example. With a sleek interface and all the usual tricks of the email 2.0 trade, it looks like a great, free download. But how does it measure up to the fierce competition?

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I was recently chatting with a few of my fellow AppStorm writers about email apps. For most of us, it’s almost a non-subject; we use Gmail as our inbox provider, and as a result, we use the official app, which just happens (in my humble opinion) to be the best Play Store offering in the email genre. But there was one writer who had just moved to Android from the Cupertino-based dark side. His main address was hosted on iCloud. Which outstanding non-Gmail app should he go for? Ah, about that…

I’m hoping that in similar future scenarios, I’m going to be able to recommend SolMail. This is an app which has clearly drawn inspiration from the smooth operators of email on iOS, such as Mailbox. But can SolMail really reproduce the kind of sleek design and ease of use pioneered by the Dropbox-owned app?

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Are your emails not enough? Do you need some ads to spice up your communications? Be happy, then, that it looks like Google’s going to be introducing advertising in Gmail for Android shortly! If that doesn’t take your fancy, how about a look at the upcoming Nexus 5, all in this week’s instalment of This Week in Android?

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This week marks a milestone for Android as we celebrate it’s fifth birthday, the anniversary of the operating system’s first unveiling. This special week has also given form to new Kindle Fire models from Amazon, a golden Galaxy S4 and more, so let’s dive in and check in with This Week in Android! (more…)

I’ve been an Android user for a few years now – and a devout one at that. You know those people who are the anti-apple-fanboys, the ones who proudly refuse to buy Apple products, who gloat at every opportunity to criticize the iconic company and its fanboys? Yeah, that was me. Actually, I’m still not a big fan of Apple, but things have been different since I had to get my first iDevice – an iPod Touch – simply to be able to preview and test the apps we design for iOS at work.

Having lived extensively in a two-devices-in-my-pocket-at-all-times world, I’ve come to see reason in my arguments – both for and against Android & iOS. There are multi-platform apps that I happily use on both, my Android phone and the iPod touch. And there are those that I’ve come to love on Android, but just haven’t found replacements on iOS as yet. What follow is just that – apps I can’t live without on Android, and miss sorely on iOS.

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Until a couple of months ago, I had never cared about backing up any of my SMS messages before resetting my phone or flashing a new custom ROM. However, I recently started receiving important work-related messages on my phone and got worried about losing them. I spent a few hours looking for a background solution that would save my messages, let me search them, and that would be easy to set up after every reset. Another requirement was for the app to look a little bit more modern than if it were designed in the Android Froyo days. Unfortunately, such an app didn’t exist at the time and I gave up on the search, opting instead for using mysms with its Evernote backup option — which was very intrusive and less than ideal.

However, a few days ago, my good friend Ricky Cadden suggested SMS Backup+ and although I had dismissed the app before because it looked like it was stuck in the Eclair days, I decided to take another look and lo-and-behold, it was updated to fit right at home on any post-ICS device, and it supported Whatsapp backups as well! I have been using the app ever since and I’m quite satisfied with its performance and reliability.

In this how-to, I will explain how I set up SMS Backup+ to save all my communication to Gmail. It should help you use the app for the first few times until you are familiar with its different configurations.

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As with any mobile OS, there are a lot of ingredients that go into Android’s mix, and though many of us share likes and dislikes, each of us has a set of favourite features. In my case, Android’s tight integration with the Google Apps services I use on a daily basis makes life a great deal easier, and it was one of the primary reasons I chose to switch to a phone powered by the little green robot.

One key example of this is Gmail. The official app Google provides on Android is brilliantly designed, providing the instantaneousness of IMAP, with the intuitive operation of swipe-to-archive. However, as a (predominantly) Gmail user myself, it had never occurred to me that this glorious messaging experience is not extended to those Android users who rely on email providers other than Google. That seems a real shame.

A new emailing app, Compail, looks like it wants to provide an intuitive, Gmail-like experience to the rest of the email universe. Can it deliver the same slick environment as Google’s custom-built email flagship, though?

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Recently, Gmail announced a new way of displaying email that presumably cleans up your inbox and makes you more organized — you can read more about it in Mark Wilson’s review. After using it on both the desktop and my phone, I’ve got to say they’ve done a good job. However, one thing they have not implemented yet is a priority inbox for close family and friends. While the Primary inbox does a nice job of filtering out automatic emails from social networks, shopping sites, and more, there is no way to differentiate work from personal email.

That’s where Dextr comes in. The app bills itself as a new mail experience that brings you closer to the people you love. Dextr’s goal is clear: to make it easier for you to communicate with the people you care about the most.

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Google may well be best known for its search engine, but the company has plenty of strings to its bow including Gmail - the free email service that has exploded in popularity over the past few years. As with many other online services, there is a mobile version of the Gmail website that you can use to access your inbox from your phone or tablet, so why would you want to use an app?

The recent update to Gmail — both its Android app and the website  — means that this seems like a good time to take a closer look at Google’s email service. This is something I use daily, and have done for years. There are aspects I love, aspects I hate, but I think it’s continuing to make moves in the right direction.

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Many of us have devices that run on different operating systems, for example a work iPhone and a personal Android device. Looking at my specific case, I use a Samsung Galaxy Note II as my everyday phone and recently bought an iPad mini, which led me to explore ways of keeping the two in perfect sync.

In an always-connected world, it’s relevant for the two devices to communicate with each other and share data. Most importantly, having your emails, contacts and calendars synchronize from one device to the other is essential. This process should be seamless and transparent to you, so that all your content can be updated on both devices with no hassle. That’s what I will explore in the first part of this series.

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