It has been two weeks since Android 4.0.3 started rolling out to the Transformer Prime, which made it the first tablet to officially receive the update. With a new version of Android, be it incremental or not, comes new and improved GApps, most of which we've already taken a close look at.

In Android 4.0.3, however, a new Gmail feature has been uncovered by ComputerWorld that is noticeably missing in its 4.0.2 brother: experiments. Sounds dangerous, no?


As you can see, these "experiments" is really just a couple of useful options that someone at Google probably deemed "worth including, but not entirely stable."

The first option, Enter full text search, is pretty self explanatory - it indexes full messages, which allows you to search through all of the text for keywords; a useful feature indeed.

The second feature, however, isn't so obvious. Contact chip? What the heck is a contact chip? When you create a message in previous versions of Android, the name you enter into the "to" or "cc/bcc" fields was basically just text. In ICS, however, those names become items, complete with the person's associated image (from Gtalk, G+... wherever) - that's the contact chip. With the second of these experimental features, you can long press on the chip and drag it to another field.


For example. If you accidentally add two contacts to the 'To' field and want to CC one instead, you can simply long press on the contact name and drag it down below. A pretty good idea indeed.

wm_Screenshot_2012-01-23-21-56-57 wm_device-2012-01-23-222208

Left: The stock 4.0.2 Gmail app on the Galaxy Nexus (No 'Experiments'); Right: The 4.0.3 apk from the Transformer Prime. Experiments!

So, when you can expect to see these features on your Galaxy Nexus? How about right now. We extracted the Gmail.apk from the Prime and pushed it onto the Galaxy Nexus to see what would happen. As expected, it worked like a champ. Install it just as you would any other app and you're good to go -- if you start to experience any odd behavior, you can always uninstall the update and rollback to the stock Gmail app.

Update #1: We just tried it out on Honeycomb (3.2) and it worked just fine.

Update #2: The apk <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="13" android:targetSdkVersion="14" />, meaning Honeycomb 3.2 is an absolute minimum.

Update #3: Gmail runs on 3.2, but force closes upon opening emails, so we wouldn't recommend installing it on 3.2 after all (go to Settings > Application > Gmail > Uninstall updates to revert if you've already installed it).

This is for ICS only.

Hit the link below to give it a shot:

Gmail 4.0.3-239410 (Mirror)

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • IamCoy

    confirmed on Galaxy Nexus, didn't need the apk.

    • Justin

      Why didn't you need the APK? I'm on a Verizon GNex 4.0.2 and the option is not available in GMail settings.

      Also, anyone know when the GNex is supposed to get 4.0.3?

      • IamCoy

        I'm rooted and was using Kang's ROM (4.0.3). When I saw this update, I checked and the functionality was already there.

  • Brian

    Got error on stock G-Slate: "There is a problem parsing the package"

  • Rayyan AlBeladi

    Already available in Nexus S 4.0.3 official update

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheErrormous Aash

    It works on the Nexus S on the ICS too, just tried it. I'd seen it earlier actually but just thought it'd always been there.

  • William

    For the record, it's been there for at least a few days. I saw it earlier this week, but didn't think anything of it. Sorry about that, if I had, I would have let you guys get the scoop.

  • Pete

    I think it's been there on my Nexus S I9023 with ICS 4.0.3 since around 18th December when i manually upgraded from Gingerbread 2.3.6. I never thought much of it.

    I wonder what other apps have subtle differences in the ICS versions released so far...

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    I don't think it has anything to do with 4.0.3 specifically, but rather the timing of the updates. Gmail is just packaged as a system app and bears a later version on updates that went out more recently.

  • Jerry Lange

    Works on stock 4.0.2 vzw galaxy nexus thanks

  • matej čurilla

    Nexus S has this by default (i have theese options without installing your apk)

  • Laurence

    I like how Artem's contact chip shows the archon from Starcraft.

  • Patrick

    I am glad I have the Prime :)

  • anks

    Had this on my HTC Desire HD for past week and didnt know it thanks for the tip...... really like the drag and drop feature

  • helikopter

    also works on the sgs2, cm9 alpha rom with the downloadable gapps6 package

  • manlisten

    The ICS Gmail app is so sexy.

    Yes, I need my email to be sexy.

    Saw this on my CM9'd TouchPad, didn't realize it was a new feature.

  • yuku

    Did you get offline search work? I've synced the last 30 days of mail, but always get "No connection" when searching offline.

  • Daniel Nantón

    Doesn't work on viewsonic gtab, with ICS 4.0.3 from the DRT team