With the ever intensifying app war out in the smartphone marketplace, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion has upped the ante by offering a new push service for BlackBerry software developers to enable rapid delivery of application-content to BlackBerry smartphones. It’s no secret that RIM has a market leading user experience for mobile push email, underpinned by it’s “ground-up for wireless” network architecture, but finally RIM is taking the game to Apple and Android developers where all the noise is being made, by leveraging its network operations centre (NOC).
Push applications are not new to the BlackBerry, but access to the required BlackBerry APIs and other resources was costly in the past and the necessary fees were prohibitive to many application developers. It seems as though access to APIs in version 5 of the handheld software is going to be a game changer.
The push service is being made available in two tiers:
- BlackBerry Push Essentials is a free service while
- BlackBerry Push Plus has a free tier and paid tiers, but essentially allows a host of monitoring and scheduling tools as well as offering pricing tiers for very high push notification loads (10,000+)
Developers are required to meet some baseline criteria
- Applications must provide a one-time message to indicate push usage to the user
- Software must indicate higher data pricing when roaming and that users should check with their carrier for data pricing
- Apps must allow users to switch pushes on or off
- Users must be able to remove the app and/or change BlackBerry smartphones
RIM is bullish about the offering, which it describes as: “…unlike alternative push solutions that can only notify users that new content is available for download because of push message size limitations, with the BlackBerry Push Service, full content (up to an industry-leading 8KB in size) is pushed to the device and made immediately available for use."
I’m excited by this announcement. As expected, most of the focus has been on consumer content, especially news, stocks and sports, but the real value is in how this changes, or rather enhances the BlackBerry user experience. RIM’s architecture facilitates "listening" for content updates, instead of having to initiate what can be lengthy processes via comparable mobile app push services. The service will run on BIS and BES and will put itself in a strong position for business applications, by bringing updates to the user, rather than a user foraging for information. There are already some solid examples of push app technology, from patient information in healthcare and sales force automation to emergency response.
Competition is fierce, and the number of personal liable devices forcing their way into businesses will keep growing. With BESX RIM is allowing IT departments and administrators to “bend without breaking” while this announcement sees RIM really starting to extract maximum value from its architecture, which will allow the company to differentiate itself from competition. RIM is now effectively placing itself both in the minds of consumers and businesses.