While Google's Gmail is still in "beta", they done a lot of good stuff for the iPhone including a quirky but usable IMAP implementation so we can keep mail synced on our mobile, desktop, and cloud. But Gmai's quirkiness isn't restricted to IMAP, the whole concept of GMail just "thinks different", from it's April 1st, everyone-thought-it-was-a-joke launch, to its labels rather than folders, stars rather than flags, and flat search rather than hierarchical sort.

All this leads some to consider a separate GMail client for the iPhone, rather than leaving it bundled into Apple's own MobileMail app. The Google Android G1 goes this route. You have one app for Gmail and another app for all your other mail. Would we ever see this on the iPhone?

Ars Technica spoke with Gmail Product Manager Todd Jackson, who had this to say (or rather, not say):

he did leave the possibility of a dedicated iPhone client on the table

But what would this mean?

If we look at Gmail strictly as a mail service, my vote is to keep it in mail, do a better job mapping labels to folders, map stars to flags (and enable flags, Apple!), and let iPhone 3.0's built in search access the Gmail cloud store as well.

If, however, we look at Gmail as some new-fangled cloud-communications service, with email, IM, and Video Chat built in, then maybe some equally new-fangled, and dedicated app is and will be increasingly necessary. That or keep it on the Web with offline access?

Meanwhile, more than better Gmail integration or a separate Gmail app, I'd still like Push Gmail, please. We know Google has licensed ActiveSync for calendars. Go on and throw the switch for email. And while you're at it, give some IMAP IDLE love for those of us who already use Exchange for work and -- due to the 1 account per device limit, thanks Microsoft! -- couldn't take advantage of it for Google.

What do you want, one of the above? All of them? How do you want your Gmail handled on your iPhone?

[Thanks to Phil from WMExperts for the tip!]