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Google launches new mobile Gmail

Free, downloadable Java application lets U.S. users do in two clicks what previously took them 10 or more.

Google launched on Thursday a version of Gmail for mobile devices that lets U.S. users do in two clicks what previously took them 10 or more.

Gmail for Mobile Devices is a free, downloadable Java application. It will work on the nearly 300 types of Java mobile phones in the United States, said Tony Hsieh, product manager for Google Mobile.

The software improves on a version of Gmail released nearly a year ago that lets people access their e-mail through a mobile Web browser. Once the new Java application is installed on a phone, a person can quickly launch Gmail instead of having to open a mobile browser and wait for it to load before signing in, Hsieh said.

In addition to being faster, Gmail for Mobile Devices maintains Gmail functions like threading and search, and adds mobile-specific functionality such as the ability to press a button to make a call to someone who sent an e-mail. People can also view attachments, such as photos, in an optimized full-screen format.

"If it takes someone a minute or two or even longer to check e-mail on their phone, people probably won't do it," Hsieh said. With wireless application protocol browsers, it can take 11 clicks to delete or archive a message, but with the new application it will take just two, he said.

There is no cost to download the application, but people will have to pay data charges to their mobile carriers. People can download the application by sending themselves a text message from the