Why Do You Need Gmail for Android?
By Allen Bethea
When you first set up your new Android smartphone or tablet, you have the option of signing in to your existing Google account, creating a new account if necessary or skipping this step entirely. If you use Gmail as an email service, however, you already have a Google account and can sign in using your Gmail email address and password. While a Gmail account is not mandatory, it does provide some key perks on an Android.
Gmail Contact Lists
Linking your Gmail account to your Android device gives you access to your Gmail contact lists. If a Gmail user on a contact list is online, you can set up a text or video chat session with him. In addition, if a contact entry has a phone number on file, you can call him directly from your phone.
You need a Google account to access apps, music or books from the Google Play app store. On the other hand, you can still download and install free or paid apps and media without a Google account if you visit alternative Android app websites like Amazon Appstore for Android, Slideme or GetJar.
One service available only with a Gmail or Google account is Google Maps Navigation -- an Internet-connected, voice-guided, GPS alternative. Google Maps Navigation enables you to search for a destinations by text or by voice, get traffic information, search for stops along your route and view your trip from a satellite perspective. In addition, Google Maps Navigation helps you find your way around on foot or on public transportation.
A Gmail account enables you to access to your data on any device you have that can connect to your Google account online. All email you send and receive on your PC is accessible on your Android device. You can browse, preview, upload or download files stored on your Google Drive; update your calendar and access your Google Plus circles, communities, photos and hangouts. In addition, if your phone ever needs to be repaired and reset, the phone's directory is restored as soon as you sign in to your Gmail account.
Allen Bethea has written articles on programming, web design,operating systems and computer hardware since 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and AAS degrees in office technology, mechanical engineering/drafting and internet technology. Allen has extensive experience with desktop and system software for both Windows and Linux operating systems.