The arrival of push notification in Apple's 3.0 iPhone software whipped up excitement, though its real-world application still left users wanting more. On Monday, Tiverias Apps released GPush, a small (0.3MB), 99-cent application that fills in a gap with push notification for your Gmail account.
GPush alerts you to incoming Gmail messages with a red icon badge, a chime, and a semitransparent alert window that reads the sender's name and the subject line. (You can change these in the Notification settings.) The application interface itself does little, apart from collecting your log-in information once, and manually reregistering your credentials. All the rest works behind the scenes.
How did GPush do? Fair, in our tests, but not worthy of the hype we've seen elsewhere. Many alerts for incoming e-mails came through, either after sliding the phone to wake it from sleep, or while actively using the iPhone. However, many other messages lagged or weren't passed down from the server at all, though they still showed up in the Mail box.
GPush's developers said in a phone call that there could be issues if the phone frequently switches between Wi-Fi and 3G data and loses the data connection. During these moments of instability, GPush will queue the new messages for notifications. When the iPhone regains its service, GPush sends out only the most recent notification, an Apple limitation to keep alerts from flooding your screen.
If you rely on Gmail, GPush is probably worth the dollar for the risk, particularly if it's not your habit to incessantly check your in-box. PushMail ($4.99) is a competitor, another third-party workaround in the iTunes App Store, though it differs. Pushmail sends along any e-mail redirected to your "dopushmail.com" address, not just inbound Gmail messages. It takes more setup and maintenance work since you'll need to forward messages to a different account e-mail, but for those who crave privacy above all else, avoiding giving up your password and log-in may be worth the extra cost and setup.
GPush is available now in the iTunes store for 99 cents.