posted on 06 January 2014


Consequences of the Android 4.3 update with responsive emails (Part 1)

TAGS: Bulk Email,Cergis,Mobile,Responsive

Welcome 2014!!!

What better way to enter the New Year than with a new, fresh and slick update to your mobile operating system for your Samsung Galaxy SIII taking you up to Android 4.3.  One of the amazing things about the update is now when it comes to your emails you will find it a lot easier to navigate around your various inboxes owing to the pop out side bar.  One particular advantage is that you are now easily able to see your junk folder.  On the previous version, this was not easy to achieve.

I’m sure those of you who have a the same Samsung model will understand how frustrating it was to obtain emails that accidentally go in your junk folder, the process of it all! - You had to access the web version of your email account, then transfer the email from your junk to your inbox to make it accessible via your mobile, so the update was very welcome in this regard.

On the downside, a few of us have noticed the very well reported slow down in performance it has caused on our phones, the depleted battery life and the problems with the lock screen that now occur.  Also, I have yet to discover how to turn off this talk command feature, for which I have no use and owing to the overall slow down of my device, now seems to be popping up randomly more often with a loud beep (even when the phone is on silent which can be embarrassing)!  We are hoping that these issues will be fixed soon.

However, the reason for this post is primarily that we have encountered a significant problem when it comes to our responsive e-mail templates.  They don't work anymore.  All our previous responsive e-mails did but now for some reason they are simply not working.  Our guess is that the native app is now more closely following the rules of the Gmail app in that it is stripping out our header style tags and consequently ignoring our media queries.  Before we remove the device from our testing list, we will wait to see if this is part of the aforementioned problems due to be fixed, or in fact intended behaviour in which case we will need to adjust the way we do our e-mails.

So the question is, do we try and work out an alternative to our method responsive method, or do we drop the device from our support list.

One such alternative might be to create two separate versions of the email – a Mobile and a Desktop version.

By this we mean for each element in the e-mail, rather than using floating we would have to duplicate each bit and show/hide the relevant block of code.  Doing this however will create extra code and we already have a bit of a problem when it comes to Gmail which has a file size restriction.  We managed to overcome this for the most part by removing all the tab spacing but having to duplicate half the content may take us over that restriction again.

We here at Cergis are discussing this actively and are trying to find and are working out our alternatives and solutions.


To be continued…………


Find out more about Lynette here.


Josh said:

We have recently come across the same problem. It seems to be a problem for most Android devices - I have a Nexus 4 running stock 4.4.2 and responsive emails have been broken for me since 4.3. It's a problem with using display:block; to stack content as more simple emails that don't stack content still work.

The Maker said:

Android 4.4.2 does not support display:block on a TD

Adrian said:

One thing I don't understand, why can't google add on Android email a simple spam button? Now the added spam function, but you would have to enter the email yourself.. Sometimes Google amazes me how bad the are thinking outside the box..

startafoodfight said:

after the 4.3 update, we did notice that display:block was no longer working on cells. our solution was to use left and right aligned tables, and force them to 100% on the mobile view. they would then behave as tables do, and stack. i have not seen anyone blogging about the most recent update to 4.4.2. now our emails are messed up pretty badly. it looks like a number of things are not supported, and again it may be stripping the styles out of the head. has anyone else had issues with 4.4.2?

David said:

One thing I have noticed on my Galaxy S4 running stock Android 4.3, is that emails seem to show the responsive view when zoomed in, but zoom out to the full email and it shows the desktop view. I'm going to do some debugging see if I can figure out the issues

Lynette said:

Hey guys, Thank you for all your amazing comments. Keeping the dimensions to this consistency on your media queries should fix any issue with your content on Samsung mobile phones with Android’s operating system: - Width between 480px and 640px - Medium sized Androids The new update to Android 4.3 and now 4.4.2 we have found that inline styling is the best way to go when it comes to styling content in emails. So do be careful not to place all your styling in the head section and remembering that floats and column splits on TD’s do not work anymore in emails. As The Maker has said, yes, display block does not work on TD’s. Giving a full width of 100% to tables itself should allow the stacking method of your tables to work on a mobile responsive view, remembering to aligned left or right your tables. Adrian - yes we here at Cergis, and I am sure many others, are really amazed how this process was not feasible previously. Thank god Google and Android have fixed the junk mail issue. David - that is very interesting indeed about the desktop view of emails when zoomed out and responsive view when zoomed in, we will work on finding out the issues also, but please do keep us posted on your findings. Good to hear your thought on this responsive and desktop view on emails.

St.G said:

I just ran into this problem today, last minute. I'd love to know what knucklehead over at Google thought it'd be a good idea to essentially invalidate a really fantastic technique for building responsive emails. Are they taking a tip from Outlook?

Michael said:

My office is also having major problems here. We have not yet found a solution. Personally, I'm looking at the iPhone 6... We had our responsive emails working on every single browser and client flawlessly. Too bad google had to go rogue on us and deviate from the standard.

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