On the Google Desktop gadgets team, we've seen countless requests for a Gmail gadget over the years. That gadget is finally here, so if you've got Google Desktop for Windows, give it a try.
You'll see that it covers the basics such as reading, searching, and sending messages. You can star messages, use the same keyboard shortcuts, and we didn't forget about contact auto-complete. It doesn't take up much space in your sidebar or desktop, and you can also resize it to show as few or as many messages as you'd like.
When I'm at work, I keep two instances of the gadget open: one logged into my personal Gmail account and the other set to my Google Apps account for work related stuff. Instead of getting lost in a sea of tabs or browser windows, I can bring up the gadgets in an instant (hint: pressing the shift key twice brings up all your hidden Desktop gadgets).
The Gmail gadget currently works with the latest release of Google Desktop for Windows. Try it out and please let us know what you think.