It appears the stock Android Email app is the next victim of Google’s recent spree of rendering AOSP apps obsolete in favor of their own alternatives. Of course, Gmail has always coexisted with the AOSP Email app, but until now you still needed your Email app (or a third-party client) to access your work email if it’s hosted on Microsoft Exchange. While Gmail’s 5.0 iteration predictably embraces Material Design, it also adds Exchange support (not to mention Outlook.com and Yahoo Mail support).
Speaking of Material Design, the new circular “+” button puts the compose function front and center so to speak (as opposed to the compose icon on the top right in previous versions). For Gmail conversations, the new version shows a better thread view instead of the “x older messages” expandable boxes of previous versions. Whereas “other” blogs will invariably show you screenshots from a smartphone, I chose to go with Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition screenshots for your viewing pleasure (plus, the compose button caused a force close on my LG G2, possibly due to it running a certain non-skinned beta ROM and Xposed modules ;)).
You can get your Gmail 5.0 fix right now from Android Police’s apk mirror site if you don’t feel like waiting for Google’s usual staged rollout to reach as far as your Android device.
h/t Android Police