I never warmed up to Sparrow on the Mac. But like my colleague Keith Wagstaff, I’m mighty impressed by the new version of the email client for the iPhone. It’s not the ultimate mail wrangler — it can’t push mail in the background, works only in portrait mode and has no rich text formatting — but it’s sleeker and more modern than anything else I’ve seen. I’m pretty sure it’s going to become my go-to email app on the iPhone for the three Gmail accounts I use daily.
Which leaves me wondering: What are the odds that we’ll get an iPad version, too?
I’ve found using Gmail on the iPad frustrating, because there are a variety of options, but nothing that’s completely satisfying. Apple’s own Mail is fine for the most part, but in my experience with my Gmail accounts, its search feature is unreliable at best. Google’s browser-based version of Gmail is impressive, but I want something that truly acts like an app on the iPad, not like a site in a tab in Safari. Various third-party apps that try to encapsulate Web-based Gmail are clunky or erratic. Google’s own Gmail app only supports one account, which makes it a nonstarter.
On the iPhone, Sparrow is polished, fun and effective — and its search capabilities seem to work better than the ones in Apple’s Mail. It’s not hard to imagine in an iPad version that retains all its virtues while reimagining the interface for a more spacious screen. You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the app’s creators to bring it to Apple’s tablet.
But it’s not. Over at The Verge, Ellis Hamburger has an excellent feature on Sparrow and the Paris-based company behind it. He says that founder Dominique Leca is still thinking about other platforms, and doesn’t want to do an iPad edition that’s merely a hasty rewrite of the iPhone one:
Leca refused to provide any details about what platforms Sparrow might head to next, but I got the impression it wasn’t because he was trying to keep any secrets. “We still don’t know what project to do next,” he said. Perhaps Android would be a good move. The push issues the company has been having would be gone on Google’s mobile operating system, Hoà told me. The iPad is also a logical choice for Sparrow, but Leca says that he would never just port the iPhone app to iPad, despite how simple it would be technically.
Please, Mr. Leca, bring Sparrow to the iPad. I want it so badly that I may just stare longingly at the App Store until it shows up there.