In an announcement made here in December of 2012 they had the following to say:
Google Sync was designed to allow access to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Contacts via the Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync® protocol. With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols. Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won't be able to set up new devices using Google Sync, however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function. Google Sync will continue to be fully supported for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education users who are unaffected by this announcement.
I found out about this announcement 10 months after it was made because I got a new phone (a GS 3...new to me) this week and I could not understand why I wasn't able to set up my Gmail account using Microsoft Exchange on my new phone.
Most people couldn't care less about this announcement. Most people are saying to themselves "whatevs, i use the Gmail app...no skin off my back"
I am not one of those people. Why am I not one of those people? Because...let me say this clearly:
THE GMAIL APPLICATION SUCKS!
Why does it suck?
1. No offline search
2. No push scheduling
Offline search matters when you want to find an email from 8, 9 or 10 days ago when you're without a mobile network connection on the train and you don't have the time nor the patience to sort through hundreds of emails to find that ONE email...that was probably sent to you 12 days ago.
Push scheduling matters because battery life matters. Microsoft Exchange allowed me to get all power user with my email download scheduling. My personal preference is for every 5mins during between 7a and 7p, hourly between 7p and 11p and on weekends and Not at all between 11p and 7a. Only giving me a binary ("push on" "push off") option in the Gmail app is completely unacceptable.
I have found a suitable solution in Aqua Mail. Although it doesn't have the email sync scheduling of exchange, it does have a helpful and battery saving "nights and weekends" feature. I have been using the free version for the past 5 days and tonight, my friends, I will purchase the full version of the app for $5 (this will be my first ever app purchase). I'm purchasing the full version because I'm a fan of the functionality (customization and the gmail integration), but I really don't like the email signature that gets appended to my emails - and the full version lets you delete the signature.