March 22nd, 2011

Android developer? Get ready to be happy. And pushy. Urban Airship streamlines push notifications for Android


Android developer? Get ready to be happy. And pushy. Urban Airship streamlines push notifications for Android

You know me. I like to claim that Portland is the de facto hub of any number of scenes. Open source. Branch offices. Microbreweries. Strip… ahem. But when it comes to claiming we’re the de facto hub of the mobile development scene, that’s about as defensible as can be. And today, it got even more, um, defensibler.

You see, today, Portland-based Urban Airship—a company that has been leading the market in push notifications for the iOS platform on iPhones and iPads—happened to announce the availability of embedded push notifications on the Android platform. And that, my friends, is kind of a big deal.

While they have already delivered more than 2.5 billion messages to iOS and Blackberry devices—to the tune of 15 million push notifications per day to more than 100 million handsets and other devices—the move into Android opens up an entirely new market for the company. If this offering is even remotely as popular as their others, UA could be looking at rapidly eclipsing their already staggering stats.

“This announcement truly establishes Urban Airship as the market leader in push on every platform,” said Scott Kveton, CEO of Urban Airship.

And bear in mind, Urban Airship is less than two years old.

Okay. Enough navel gazing. What do Android developers get from Urban Airship? Well, like all of Urban Airship’s solutions, they get super easy implementation. But Android folks will also get some added benefits.

Our Embedded Push solution operates entirely outside the Google stack, which allows developers using Embedded Push to offer richer features and the ability to do more with notification delivery and also making it so you don’t need a signed-in Google account on the device. Examples of such features in development include “quiet time” customization, allowing end users to define times not to be interrupted, an inbox of past notifications, guaranteed Quality of Service, and return receipt. Additionally, this solution gives each app its own open connection that is synchronized to save battery life. The direct end-to-end connection between each app and end user devices allows near-instant message delivery. The platform will also support in-app purchase on the Android platform, so developers can offer additional content to users within Android apps by offering simple, one-click billing.

But that’s not all.

The Urban Airship mobile platform will also support in-app purchase on the Android platform. This highly anticipated feature will allow developers to offer additional content to users right within the app by offering simple, one-click billing. In-app purchase is core to many app-monetization strategies, and there has been significant pent-up demand for in-app purchase to become available for Android especially from developers using the “freemium” model. Urban Airship provides one complete client library to give developers access to in-app purchase, subscriptions and push notifications through one API in order to simplify the process.

See? I told you. Kind of a big deal.

ESPN Score Center and ShopKick are already on board. And more are sure to follow.

“We’re seeing more mission-critical apps with sophisticated messaging needs—in emergency services, in the enterprise—that rely on an always-on, secure mobile infrastructure for message delivery,” said Kveton in the press release. “Urban Airship has invested heavily in its back-end infrastructure so it can offer developers the robust, scalable and stable messaging-delivery platform necessary to extend the reach of their mobile offerings.”

For more, read the Urban Airship press release and the blog post on Android embedded push. You can also follow @urbanairship for the latest and greatest.

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