Google launched an iPad-friendly version of Gmail yesterday. It’s a lot like the mobile, touch-friendly version of Gmail that’s already available for the iPhone (and not all that different from Gmail for Android). But it’s designed to take advantage of the larger, higher resolution display on the iPad, so it includes a 2-pane view. On the left is a list of messages, and on the right you can read the actual messages in a conversation.
While the user interface was designed for the iPad, all you need to do to access it on other devices is switch your browser’s user agent. Lifehacker shows you how to do that with a desktop version of Firefox. But unless you have a Windows or Linux machine with a touchscreen, there’s really not much reason to use the iPad version instead of the default Gmail interface.
But several Android smartphones including the Google Nexus One and Motorola Droid have higher screen resolutions than the iPhone — you might want to give the iPad version of Gmail a try on those phones. And it turns out, it’s as easy to do as installing the latest version of xScope, a mobile web browser for Android.
Last night the developer pushed out an update that lets you set the user agent for the browser to iPad. Just go to the settings menu and scroll down until you get to the section that says “User Agent.” You can also set the user agent as iPhone, Computer, or return it to Android.
Then visit gmail.com using the web browser in landscape mode to see the new 2-pane view. Since my Nexus One has a screen resolution of 800 x 480, Gmail doesn’t look quite as good as it will on the iPad with its 1024 x 768 pixel display. But you can definitely fit more information on the screen using the iPad interface than the default Gmail mobile interface.
If you rotate your phone to portrait mode, you’ll only see the message list — just as you would if your user agent were set to Android or iPhone.
You can download xScope ($2.99) or xScope lite (free) from the Android Market.