Why I’m not using the Dell Streak for email

Streak-emailEven though being able to connect a Bluetooth keyboard to the Dell Streak sounds like email would be an absolute treat on the device, especially considering its 5-inch display, it hasn't been one for me.

The Streak ships with Touchdown (30-day free trial) for corporate email, but I use the native Gmail and Email apps because I don't have corporate email (my websites are my full-time job). Gmail is my personal account and I use an IMAP account for my sites via the Streak's Email app. I've done this on Windows Mobile, iPhone OS, iOS 4, Maemo, and recently Android 2.1, and it's always worked without a hitch.

Unfortunately, I can't say that the Dell Streak and its Android 1.6 OS continue this trend. On the contrary, the Gmail and Email apps on both of my Streaks (UK version and US beta version) have been unreliable enough for me to use them only when trying to troubleshoot what's causing their problems.

The Streak doesn't always have problems with email. Sometimes it works exactly as it should: syncing, sending, receiving are capable of working in perfect harmony. But it always seems to be a crap shoot. I never know what's going to happen when I access my email on the Streak.

Here's a list of the issues I've experienced not all the time but on a regular basis:

  • Gmail won't send messages. It shows "Sending" in red (shown above) and either stays like that forever or ends up canceling itself. Sometimes the unsent message will appear in the Drafts folder; other times it will disappear. Opening the unsent message and resending it works occasionally.
  • Gmail doesn't send all attachments. There's no pattern to this. Sometimes 3 out of 5 attachments make it to the recipient, sometimes 1 out of 2, sometimes 4 out of 5.
  • Saving draft messages in Gmail aren't synced, even when Draft folder is supposed to sync.
  • Email app won't sync according to the user-selected update frequency.
  • Manual refresh won't actually refresh Email inbox.
  • Messages in Email are blank.
  • Attachment won't complete downloading in Email unless the message is closed and reopened.

This behavior is very erratic and therefore makes emailing on the Streak very unreliable. I'd rather not use the device for email at all than to use it with my fingers crossed all the time.

Touchdown and other third-party email apps could be more reliable, but I shouldn't have to turn to them just to send a simple email!

Gmail's performance is truly embarrassing on a device running Google's mobile operating system. I've cleared the data in Gmail and Gmail Storage from Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications several times based on suggestions yielded from some googling (Google is everywhere!), but it didn't make a difference.

Since I have never encountered any of these issues on devices running Android 2.1, I assume 1.6 is the culprit. So until an update to 2.2 is released, I'm crossing "email" off the list of things I do with the Streak.

Your mileage may vary.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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