Push Providers

When implementing push notifications for your mobile application, you have a few options for how to begin communicating with the push notification service. Through our research, we found several possible providers:

  • Urban Airship
  • Pushwoosh
  • Appcelerator
  • Xtify
  • Custom Build

We used Urban Airship for our implementation because of the name’s popularity and their additional features. Unfortunately, Urban Airship only supports Native Android and Native iOS. Due to this restriction, we had to customize several portions of our code for our cross-platform environments (PhoneGap, Rhodes, Unity).

The following table details benefits of each provider:

Urban Airship Pushwoosh Appcelerator Xtify
Pricing (July 2012) $200/month $20/month Contact Sales Rep $200/month
Platform
iOS
Android
Windows Phone
Blackberry
Features
Tags
Quiet Time
In-App Purchase
One push to all platforms
Analytics
Rich Push
Open Source

Another option is to use a Custom Build. With this option, the developer can implement as many or as few features as needed. This option removes a third party, which can offer the developer more control over the application, but this also means that when the push notification provider api changes, so must the developer change the code. Repositories located on GitHub may be useful in implementing common features.


Definitions:
Tags – Allow pushes to be sent to groups
Quiet Time – Prevents pushes from being sent at awkward times
In-App Purchase – Allows users to purchase upgrades without needed to go back to the App Store
One push to all platforms – Allows developers to think in terms of Users rather than Devices
Analytics – Know whether the user clicked on the notification and how long the user spent in the app
Rich Push – Can send HTML-based pushes (full-feature music, coupons, surveys)
Open Source – Source code available for distribution

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