Google's been on a roll when it comes to sending former AOSP apps to the Play Store for everyone to enjoy (and Google to close the source on), we've already seen properties like Google Keyboard and Calendar, but now it looks like the newly-refresh Email app could be on the way.

A seemingly small and somewhat vague code commit in AOSP to said app clues us in, revealing that Google has likely been testing the app on its internal Play Store. This particular commit served only to update the version of the app, presumably as a way to determine if the update procedure would work properly when downloaded from the Play Store.


It's all we have to go off of for now, but the fact that the stock email app got a huge Gmail-like refresh in Android 4.4 would support the conclusion that Google is probably keen on getting it to a wider audience, particularly since there really aren't many well-designed, modern-looking 3rd party email clients available for Android. And given how often the stock email apps included by device OEMs kind-of-sort-of really suck, this is bound to be something that will please a whole lot of people.

We can only hope it comes sooner rather than later.


Thanks, Howard!

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Changa Sjudi


  • Alex Flynn

    Another one bites the dust

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

      Except in a good way. We want all of them to bite the dust.

      • Joseph Lee

        Can't we say ride off into the sunset instead lol

      • Jon

        But...in this way it stops having AOSP updates, correct? It's another app that needs to have the Google services package, right?

      • didibus

        Ya, what's the point of having those apps on the system partition anyways. I feel only apps that require root privileges should come on the system partition, all other should either be downloaded later, or it should install with the OS but as a user land app.

      • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

        Nothing like OSS going close source! Although I don't think Google will do that with this, since they want OEMs to have a base app to work on top off I guess.

        • Markus S.

          One would think the same about Keyboard, Calendar, etc. …

          • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

            You're right and those went close source :/. But they still maintain an open source keyboard for example, because OEMs use them as bases.

          • Random832

            The question is whether the open-source version will continue to receive updates. Apps this has happened to in the past have tended to stay frozen in time, e.g. the search app and the music app.

        • Cory Wilson

          I don't get the big deal. Most of these apps all get ripped out of OEM Roms anyway, just means custom ROM makers like cyanogenmod and PA have to build their own stock apps now. But I think making these apps available to all is more important. Google isn't trying to kill open source, they are trying to kill fragmentation, and make android version numbers less important and that's a good thing

          • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

            Non sequitur. Google could upload the apps to the Play Store without closing them down.

    • sssgadget

      Damn that song is stuck in my head now :/

      • Simon Belmont

        Haha. Not a bad song to be stuck with, though.

        There's plenty of worse ones. PLENTY.

        • Rebecca


          • Cherokee4life

            ... I hate you. I forgot about that song

  • Jack Off

    Friggin Finally!

  • Matthew Fry

    Yay! I took the Kit Kat one from the Nexus 5 Kit Kat apks on AP and I've been very happy with it.

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

      There is an updated version of both mail and exchange in 4.4.1. I will upload it if I find the time or need (like if there is a real difference compared to the old one).

      • Simon Belmont

        Please do! I've had attachment issues with the stock email client in KitKat since day one on my Nexus 5 (and after my Nexus 7 got the KitKat OTA).

        Hopefully the updates fix that. Thanks!

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

          Well, if you have 4.4.1 on any device, you can probably pull them yourself. I am not in a position to do this until at least Sunday.

          • Simon Belmont

            I don't, unfortunately. But, it's fine and I didn't mean to seem overzealous on needing them right away.

            I can wait (either for the OTA or if/when you might have time). No rush, either way. Have a good weekend. Cheers.

          • Josh Crumley

            Gimme just a sec, i'll upload it somewhere for ya.

          • Josh Crumley

            Here ya go, pulled from 4.4.1 on my nexus 5.

          • Josh Crumley

            Here's "Exchange Services" as well, not sure if it's different/necessary for you.


          • Simon Belmont

            Thank you, sir! I appreciate your efforts.

            Downloading now. Cheers!

        • Matthew Fry

          Hehe... Attachment issues :)

          • Simon Belmont

            Haha. I see what you did there. ;)

            Yes, I'm overly attached to that email client but it's having issues with said attachment. Oh crap, I've said too much. :D

      • Matthew Fry

        You sir, are a gentleman.

  • senor_heisenberg

    Yes! I hope they do the same with the camera.

    • NemaCystX

      I think the camera has drivers associated with it though so its probably by a device basis

      • Simon Belmont

        No, I don't think it'll work that way. You see plenty of camera apps in the Google Play Store and they don't require special drivers.

        The drivers are part of the Android system. The camera APK is something that could be published in the Google Play Store (Motorola has done it with its Moto X camera app, for example).

  • ithehappy

    Will it have Gmail push support? No. So why bother? I used the apk from 4.4 and at least it didn't have any push option. So thanks, no. I am happy with AquaMail.

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

      Exchange, that's the point.

      • ithehappy

        Yeah, as if I didn't know that already !

    • rstat1

      Did you forget about the actual Gmail app?

      • ithehappy

        Yeah, I remove it with Root Explorer always, an app which can't delete a single email from a conversation, no sent email alert, and some, thanks, no.

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Huh? There's a Gmail app for that. This is for Exchange, IMAP, and POP.

  • Simon Belmont

    Good. Maybe that means they can squash the attachment download issues (it won't download any attachments in KitKat) I've been having with a POP3 account on my Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2012).

    Ironically, on Android 4.3 on my G'Nex and prior to KitKat on my N7, attachments downloaded easily. Also, there's that whole 5 MB limit on attachments that was added in KitKat (WTF?).

    • c0d3m0nk3y

      Not the only working feature that go lost. I can't add a widget to a folder if it has subfolders. Hope that gets fixed

  • Wylan

    This is great news. Our company allows BYOD and its frustrating as an admin when someone goes out and gets a galaxy or a phone from verizon that doesnt include an email app that supports all the security restrictions being pushed down from exchange. This will solve countless headaches.

  • cabbiebot

    Yes, this is good. But what about the one app that has never gotten a design refresh...the humble but all-powerful Settings app? Compared to its stock android counterparts, its an ugly, dated disaster. Heck I'd take a Froyo design style over what it looks like now.

    • Björn Lundén

      For obvious reasons you can't just put the Settings app in the play store.

      • cabbiebot

        I agree. But it still ought to be re-designed from the ground up.

        • Björn Lundén

          Not really feasible and would be problematic with how Android reads settings. I might have misread your comment though as I now don't see any mention of putting it on the Play Store.

          I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to an updated look-and-feel of the Settings app though.

  • Korshunov

    > there really aren't many well-designed, modern-looking 3rd party email clients available for Android.
    O RLY? K-9 mail

    • C.

      Well that's just one.

    • thedosbox

      Unlike the stock app, it doesn't support ActiveSync.

    • Joaquin Padilla Rivero

      The UI still sucks.

  • Mark

    The driving factor is more likely ease of maintenance. If the Exchange problem was the only problem in 4.4, Google wouldn't be be pleased having to roll out a 4.4.1 just to fix a non-core app.

    The more apps taken out the core and made Play-store ready, the easier and lower risk Android releases become.

  • ickkii

    When is something that is currently free and open-source going proprietary good news? I just don't see the need for another proprietary mail app considering gmail already has that covered. Doesn't really affect me personally, but this is by no means good news for the Android Open Source Project.

    • Chris Caldwell

      Different issue. Gmail app is FOR Gmail, this is the app you use if you have a non-gmail email. They should merge them, but again, thats a different issue.

      • Björn Lundén

        I certainly wouldn't want them to merge the apps. I'm guessing most people use Gmail for their personal email and the Email app for work. Why you'd want to merge those is beyond me. The Gmail app also has several Gmail-specific features that wouldn't work well for normal email.

    • Björn Lundén

      It's only bad if they stop pushing the updates to AOSP too. Unfortunately when they move the apps to the play store they usually become slower at updating it so I share your worry here.

      On the other hand, many manufacturers seems to completely fail to properly implement support for the client certificate exhange auth setup we have at work so if this means people will now actually be able to use it without flashing custom roms it could be a good thing.

  • Patruns

    I have tried this app in every version of Android from Gingerbread to Kit Kat and each time it has fallen short. Read some of the various Android forums and you will see I am not alone. Currently testing MyMail and aside from an incompatibility issue with my home ISP (which they are working on with me) it seems to be a good substitute until Android gets this app right.

  • Chris Caldwell

    It should have been available to all android phones previously anyway, since its part of android. Sure, a samsung phone would also have the shitty samsung email client, but this was there ALSO. This move, as I understand it, is to prevent a fork like Amazon from having access to it, but who cares, they already have an email client.

    Also, by doing this they have ensured that the ONLY core apps on OEM phones are the OEM bloat versions. While you CAN go and get the google versions, how many people will? Whats gonna happen even more now is people get their first android phone (usually a samsung or HTC), get frustrated by the poor core programs, dont want to go to the play store and try the 50 alternatives, and give up on Android. I know 3 people who did that already, now its worse. Basically theyve allowed OEMs to completely re-do the Android experience, and these companies are really bad at software. I just dont get it.

  • duse

    I prefer TouchDown now. The UI isn't the best, but it's tolerable. The reason I prefer it is because it doesn't force PIN and encryption on my phone. Instead only the data for TouchDown itself is encrypted, and I enter a PIN when I go to the app. Makes infinite sense, and I have no idea why the stock app wouldn't offer this as an option. Why encrypt ALL the data on my phone, force me to enter a 6-digit PIN every time I want to use it, and give my work the ability to remotely wipe the entire device, when I can simply encrypt my work email and enter a PIN the once or twice a day I need to check it? The data can be secured in a separate container, there's no reason to involve the rest of the phone.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    I was hoping they were headed in this direction with it. It was desperately in need of the update it got with 4.4, but the bugs in it (especially the notification bug for me) need more consistent review.

    As well, when I was on non-stock Android versions, I always preferred this app to the OEM's typically overthought, overburdened Exchange email application. So making this available to all will be a nice improvement.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Google sure is moving towards scraping AOSP and a big "fuck you" to the community. Google is becoming Apple is every fucking way possible..

  • http://jefferai.org/ Jeff Mitchell

    "...there really aren't many well-designed, modern-looking 3rd party email clients available for Android..."

    Maybe there aren't many, but there is certainly one: AquaMail.

  • Simon Belmont

    Well, I finally got Android 4.4.2 installed and guess what? I still can't download my attachments with the stock email client and the 5 MB limit on attachments is still present. I tried all manner of ways to do it, and it's a no go. I even deleted my account and started fresh and nothing.

    They DID fix the issue where it was using your email address as the sender name, though. Come on, Google, fix those two major issues I mentioned above because I love your client otherwise.