Google has recently purchased Sparrow, an application for OS X and iOS that works very well with GMail and makes email fun and simple again. I used this application exclusively during my brief time with OS X and even made the switch to Sparrow on iOS despite the lack of push notifications. Unfortunately, now that Google has bought the development team responsible for these excellent applications, all further development will stop. Instead of improving the software, Google has assigned these people to other projects. One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind on hearing this was this: is Google trying to own the email experience?
Despite its age, email is still an important element for people when they communicate with people online. One of the reasons the BlackBerry was so popular was because of how well it did email. During RIMs heyday, people could quickly read, respond, and deal with their messages in the most efficient manner known at the time. Since the release of the iPhone and Android-powered phones, people have started to move to other platforms. The default mail client on iOS is pretty decent, but does not take advantage of GMail's tags, priority inbox, or other features of the service. The mail client on Android, however, is one of the best clients available for a mobile device.
Has Google bought the Sparrow development to improve on the Android mail client? Does Google want to be the first and only option people think about when shopping for a new phone?
If this wild theory is even partially accurate, I think the company would stand to win a lot of subscribers. I can think of half a dozen people who are not happy with email on their iPhones, and they'd likely jump shop when their contract ends if there's an attractive Samsung or Nexus device out there with the perfect email client.