With the release of Froyo, Google promised to start decoupling applications bundled with the Android at the core - we've already seen it done to Maps, Navigation, Street View, and other programs. Today Gmail joins the party with the rollout of a new version 2.3 that can now be installed from the Market.

What does it mean? Well, previously, the Gmail app was only updated when you upgrade the whole operating system. Now that the app is downloadable from the Market directly, any updates will be available immediately.

Unfortunately, only users of Froyo and above are able to install the standalone version - everyone else is out of luck.

What's New?

In addition to the above, the new app comes with a few new features and UI tweaks:

  • redesigned button header that can now float when you scroll (it floats fine on my colleague's Droid 2 but not on my EVO 4G, hrm…)
  • a dedicated Reply button in said header (woot!)
  • ability to set the default action of the Reply button to either Reply or Reply All
  • performance boost for most features
  • ability to show/hide quoted text (also doesn't seem to work on my EVO 4G)
  • limited Priority Inbox support

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Froyo users can download the new Gmail app from the Market by clicking the barcode below from their phone or scanning it with a Barcode Scanner app:

QR code for https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.gm

Source: Google Mobile blog