It’s been a bit quiet around the Andromo world for the last little while, aside from the occasional post about the new dashboard styles that are coming soon, but all that’s about to change.

We are pleased to announce our newest developer service for adding push notifications to your Android apps:

AirBop

AirBop: Push Notification Service for Android

One of the most common feature requests we have received since we released Andromo, has been the ability to send push notifications down to apps. We always knew it was important to do, but we were busy improving Andromo and getting Andromo to the point where we felt it stood out amongst the other App makers as the best solution for Android apps.

Midway through 2012 we released Andromo 2.0, then we released the Audio additions (podcast and radio), and finally we released the PDF activity. At this point we felt that Andromo was at a good enough point that we could take the required time to look at push notifications and changes to the dashboard. We knew that these changes were not going to be quick, so tackling them too early would have been a mistake.

Our original idea was to partner with one of the existing push notification services. We thought that this would be the quickest and easiest way for us to integrate this feature into Andromo. However after examining the other services, we couldn’t find one that met all of our feature requirements and offered a price point we were comfortable with.

So we did what any self respecting rag tag band of programmers would do: we built our own.

When we designed AirBop we didn’t just stop at solving the push notification problem for Andromo developers, we solved it for all Android developers. AirBop is pure Android. We went for the tightest and leanest approach, relying on the awesomely designed Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) service for our message delivery service, and a scalable server stack of our own to handle the device registrations.

We didn’t want to add a ton of dependencies to the clients, we wanted developers to be able to do whatever they want, however they want. It’s their code and they know how to write it. In keeping with that design ethos, we didn’t want to add any heavy jars to the client.

If you are going to write your Android app in Java, the only recommended dependency is the gcm.jar, and even that you don’t need to use. The one real dependency that your client devices will need are the Google Services, which we are all right with.

Why should I use push notifications?

Whether or not you need push notifications in your app depends on what type of app you are building and whether or not you are an Android developer or an Andromo developer.

As you probably know, Andromo is a website that allows you to build Android apps without coding. Naturally, what you can create with it isn’t as open as what you can create with pure Java. However, considering that well over 10,000 apps created with Andromo are available in Google Play – our users are a creative bunch. Andromo users will find many ways to use push notifications to market, promote and monetize their apps.

If you are a pure Java Android developer, push notifications can be used to accomplish everything from marketing to core app functionality. It’s really up to you.

In a nut shell you should use push notifications when you want communicate with the users of your app or your app itself. This can be to

  • Inform them of a new blog post
  • Pass on a coupon that they can redeem in store
  • Advertise time-sensitive specials
  • Promote other apps or services
  • Let them know that it’s their turn in the game
  • Send needed data to your app (e.g. sports scores, in app purchase updates)
  • Any message you want to direct to a highly targeted audience in an effective manner

What next?

AirBop is now open for public registration!

Head on over to http://www.airbop.com and signup for a free account. We’re giving you 1,000 active device registrations, plus unlimited push messages for free.

If you’re a Java Android developer, we’ve got lots of tutorials and sample code up on the site to get you started.

If you’re an Andromo developer, we’re going to make it super easy to enable AirBop in your apps in the coming few days. You’ll simply need to ‘turn it on’ and enter some information from the AirBop site into your Andromo app. Keep your eyes here for the announcement…

Now go signup!!! Oh, and please help spread the word!

Thanks.