updated 04:20 pm EDT, Tue September 21, 2010
Google updates Android Gmail and iOS Google Earth
Google on Tuesday updated two of its most important mobile apps, including a landmark change for Android. The company has now made Gmail a stand-alone app to give it new features without waiting for major updates to Android itself. The first update brings in early support for Priority Inbox through an "important" filter, lets users toggle quoted text and keeps important interface elements on the screen regardless of the length of the message.
The update needs a phone running Android 2.2 but is available in Android Market like any other app.
Gmail's update indirectly confirms some of Google's plans to end Android fragmentation, which has become a chronic problem for the platform. Since most Android phones use custom interfaces and are subject not just to waiting on the phone maker but also the carrier, many phones have been left running old versions even when technically capable of supporting more. Android 2.2 only just began getting significant use months after it was posted.
Apple device today received their own update in a major expansion to Google Earth. The iOS app now supports the ocean layer of the desktop app and supports both terrain maps of underwater areas with photos of sea life from the Sylvia Earle Alliance.
The 3.1 update is still universal and works with iPads, iPhones and iPods, and it now supports the 960x640 Retina Display screens of the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch.
Google Earth for iOS