June 17th, 2009

Tap tap: Urban Airship celebrates launch of iPhone OS 3.0 with Tapulous deal


Tap tap: Urban Airship celebrates launch of iPhone OS 3.0 with Tapulous deal

Okay. I have to admit, I thought it was a big deal when Portland-based Urban Airship launched at WWDC and announced Portland-based Subatomic Studios as their first customer.

But just wait until you hear this.

Today as Apple makes iPhone OS 3.0 available, Urban Airship announces a deal with Tapulous—makers of the insanely popular Tap Tap Revenge—that will enable the game to support the latest iPhone 3.0 features.

That’s two incredibly impressive wins within a short time period—especially for a company that didn’t even exist a month ago.

And from the sounds of things, it’s not only the Urban Airship folks who are happy about the deal. Tapulous sounds pretty psyched about Urban Airship, too:

Integration with Urban Airship was a breeze. Scott’s team made themselves very available to us, as we brought our feature up in a development sandbox, and again just two days later, when we were ready to switch to production. The level of professionalism and support was the likes of which I have rarely seen; we really felt like the Urban Airship guys were a part of our team for a few days, and we a part of theirs. They even all hung around with us in IRC on Friday night, waiting until we confirmed that we’d uploaded Tap Tap Revenge to iTunes Connect for review, before heading out for a celebratory cocktail. I only wish we were located nearer, because for sure that round should have been on me!

Wow. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

And, to be sure, the feeling was mutual.

“The opportunity to work with Tapulous is tremendous,” said Michael T Richardson of Urban Airship. “They’re an amazing team with a fantastic product. We were thrilled to be able to help them hit their deadline.

“Tapulous has implemented APNS in a great way—that truly shows off the capabilities of the new feature. On top of that, it was great to see how quickly they were able to get up and running with our services. They’re a dream customer.”

Hold on. What exactly did Urban Airship do for Tapulous?

So what’s this APNS acronym? And what exactly did Urban Airship help Tapulous do?

Well, part of the iPhone 3.0 release is a thing called Apple Push Notification Services.

App-uh what? Push notification services give application developers the ability to send messages to their apps, to update the badge on home screen icons—like the way the email icon shows the number of unread messages—and to allow users to send messages to one another.

It’s a pretty cool. And it’s sure to increase both interactivity with iPhone apps and customer retention for the companies that build them. But there’s one big problem: Apple doesn’t provide the infrastructure to support this feature. So the developers have to do it.

And when you’re talking about something like Tap Tap Revenge, scalability could be a complete nightmare.

Enter Urban Airship. The Portland-based team not only provided a streamlined way of implementing the push notifications, they also provided the infrastructure to support the service for Tap Tap Revenge—and all of its needs for rapid scaling.

What’s more, Urban Airship managed to do that more quickly and far more affordably than Tapulous could have.

Tapulous gets a better game and Urban Airship gets another marquee customer using their services. Win win.

Let’s tack another “win” on there, actually. This is a huge win for Portland. For both the perception of our talent and the perception of the burgeoning mobile development community here in town.

So yeah, win win win.

I can’t wait to see what Urban Airship announces next.

For more on the services and features Urban Airship supports, see their post on the Tapulous deal. For the story behind the implementation—and a glowing review of Urban Airship—see the Tapulous post on implementing push notifications.

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