Gmail keeps dropping all kinds of cool new features — offline use amongst them, which some people claim makes gmail the be-all and end-all of mail clients. A reasoned discussion of the pros and cons of native clients vs web clients is up here — Alex Payne — The Problem With Email Clients.
For me tho, all these discussions miss the mark. I make regular use of 4 email addresses — two business, two personal — which I have acquired over the years and I want to maintain. And I don’t want to forward them all to some uber address. So my minimum bar is a client that can handle multiple inboxes with multiple addresses. This drives me to:
* the browser, where I can use the various web interfaces of the various systems. This is a little unsatisfying as the web interfaces vary so much across the different mail systems.
* the default mac mail client which works reasonably well
* the iphone which handles multiple accounts reasonably well (tho the limitation of one exchange account sucks)
I use the iphone for about 60-70% of my mail, the mac mail client for about 25-30%, and the web clients for about 5%. The innovation that google is putting into its gmail client is thus largely wasted on me. It all sounds cool but without the ability to handle multiple accounts, I will rarely use it.