Research In Motion has announced measures to make it easier for app developers to use push services on Blackberrys. There will now only be a fee for apps which have particularly heavy use. A push facility works by a service provider actively sending information to a cellphone rather than the phone itself requesting the information. Used with e-mail it means new messages appear instantly on a handset, which can be good or bad news depending on your attitude to the Crackberry. It’s already possible to create apps with push features for Blackberrys, but until now the associated charge for developers has been prohibitive for all but the largest of providers. RIM has now split the service for developers into two tiers. Push Essentials is a free option which provides basic push delivery while Push Plus gives more controls such as full data about how many devices pushed info has arrived at; it’s free for less than 100,000 total “pushes” a day, with a sliding fee scale above that. The systems also include some features and requirements which should be of benefit to consumers. The total data in each “push” can be up to 8kb, meaning that in most cases the full information itself can be transmitted rather than merely a notification that new info is available. There’s also a requirement to follow particular technical rules to vastly reduce the battery demands which are typically a problem for push apps. And if the user is running another app when information is pushed, they’ll get a pop-up notification which they can click to see the information without needing to close the app already running. As you’d expect, there are also some transparency requirements: users must be reminded that the increased data use could be expensive while roaming, as well as being given the ability to switch the push feature on and off.
March 19, 2010
by John Lister