google’s release of priority inbox stirred up plenty of chatter, including a post here. flipping gmail’s powerful spam filter on its head, priority inbox is able to identify the messages you are most likely to want to read. nice work! but how do you get that sweetness on your mobile device?
now, where do you think functionality like this would be most valued? that’s right, on your phone. the premium on space and attention for mobile users crys out for a way to bring important messages to the top of the heap. however, in its debut, priority inbox didn’t get to the android version. steve rubel tweeted out a way to do it via the gmail website, but the resulting shortcut, while useful, was not dynamic – there was no way to tell you actually had urgent mail waiting, only a quicker way to check if you did. android guys trumpeted an update to the native app that brought the new “important” label to the mobile set, but the big news for the home screen was the ability to add a label for “important” mail. again, just a shortcut, with no way to tell if you actually had mail.
I hunted around the market for widgets that might close the loop for me. one that I liked was gmailwidget+. when I tried it out, however, it had the same failing as a lot of other gmail widgets – it let me pick personal labels that I had created, but not system folders. I write nick stumpos, the widget developer, to ask if that was possible. I got a quick note back, saying “sure!” and promising an update that day if it was easy, and a few days if they were hiccups.
this morning I saw that I had an update waiting for the widget. I updated, and behold! shown above are the three themes for the widget. the priority inbox important and unread count is right there, as is the unread count for otherinbox (if you’re using priority inbox and haven’t read my post on OIB, read that next. you’ll thank me for it). tapping the label brings me directly to the folder in the native gmail app.
setting it up is cake:
long press your screen to add the widget. a settings page will pop up (left). if you have more than one gmail account loaded, pick which one to use (you can have a separate widget for each account!)
only unread messages is the default (center)
pressing the hide labels option will bring up a list of all your folders. you will need to click all the folders except the one(s) you want displayed. you will be prompted to save.
bam. you’re flashing priority inbox magic at full strength, right on your home screen.
PS it looks like labelert offers something similar…(below)