AWS Launches Amazon SNS Mobile Push to Empower Mobile App Devs

Amazon Web Services announced Amazon Simple Notification Service with Mobile Push to enable developers to easily send notifications to a variety of devices.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) with Mobile Push, a fast, cross-platform push notification service in the cloud to facilitate application development.

AWS officials said with one simple API, application developers can send notifications to Apple iOS, Google Android and Kindle Fire devices.

All AWS customers can begin using Mobile Push for Amazon SNS at no charge and send up to 1 million notifications each month for free. After that, customers pay 50 cents for every million messages published, and 50 cents for every million messages delivered—equaling $1 per million push notifications.

In a blog post on the news, Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at AWS, said, "Push notifications are short, alert-style messages you can send to users even when they are not actively using your app."

He noted that the push notifications are similar to SMS but cost much less because they use WiFi or cellular data. Users can acknowledge a push notification to launch an app and view more information.

"WeatherBug customers expect immediate notification of alerts anywhere in the world, on any platform and on any device," said Thomas Spendley, vice president of engineering at Earth Networks, provider of the WeatherBug service, in a statement. "In the past, we built the push service for each specific mobile platform, but it was expensive and time-consuming. Amazon SNS with Mobile Push is an easy choice because it is both less expensive—$1 per million notifications—than our self-managed service was, and also saves us valuable time that we can reinvest into other priorities."

Up to now, supporting push notifications at large scale has been complicated for mobile app developers, AWS officials said. Each popular mobile platform maintains a different free relay service that delivers notifications through persistent connections to devices running the platforms they own. This means that to support millions of users on multiple mobile platforms, developers must integrate with each of these platform-specific relay services, which introduces operational complexity and cost, AWS said. In addition, the nature of mobile app distribution is such that successful apps can become popular almost overnight, exacerbating these challenges for customers.

"Customers tell us that this is just the sort of undifferentiated heavy lifting they like us to solve on their behalf," Barr said in his post.

"Many customers tell us they build and maintain their own mobile push services, even though they find this approach expensive, complex and error-prone," said Raju Gulabani, vice president of database services at AWS, in a statement. "Amazon SNS with Mobile Push takes these concerns off the table with one simple cross-platform API, a flat low price and a free tier that means many customers won’t pay anything until their applications achieve scale."

Andrew Levy, CEO of Crittercism, a mobile application performance management company, said Crittercism helps companies of all sizes monitor their apps' performance and identify problems as they're happening, "but quickly communicating to large user bases has always been a challenge for the mobile industry," he said in a statement. "AWS services like DynamoDB and now SNS Mobile Push are key building blocks that help us deliver the best experience possible across 600 million mobile devices. SNS Mobile Push means our customers can now notify tens of millions of users in a matter of seconds about critical app performance issues."

Meanwhile, Scott Kveton, CEO of Urban Airship, said, also in a statement, "The raw transmission of push notifications is itself a heavy workload—AWS has proven it can handle huge-scale workloads."

Amazon SNS with Mobile Push can send messages to individual users on specific devices or broadcast identical messages to many subscribers at once, and can easily scale from a few notifications a day to hundreds of millions, AWS officials said. Mobile Push is built into Simple Notification Service, which developers already use to notify their customers via SMS text message and e-mail. Using Amazon SNS with Mobile Push, developers can focus on engaging their customers instead of the devices those customers happen to choose. Amazon SNS with Mobile Push is available in all public AWS regions.

To learn more or to get started with Amazon SNS with Mobile Push go here.

The Amazon SNS with Mobile Push news comes just a week after the company announced it would begin accepting HTML5 apps in its Appstore.

Amazon on Aug. 7 launched Web app support in its Mobile App Distribution Program. Developers can now submit URLs for their HTML5 Web apps and mobile Websites and have Amazon offer that content to millions of Kindle Fire and Amazon Appstore customers just as they do with native apps, Amazon said.