I spoke today with Scott Kveton, a former developer with deadpooled open-ID startup Vidoop, about the startup, Urban Airship, he and 3 other fellow ex-Vidoopers launched today to assist iPhone developers with push notifications and iPhone storekit provisioning (you can find a comprehensive story about the fall of Vidoop here). iPhone app developers can outsource these cloud-based services to Urban Airship, which will focus primarily on the iPhone for now but will aim to provide support for other mobile devices in the future.
Kveton says that he along with his former colleagues saw a gap in the industry where developers could get bogged down in the nitty gritty development issues concerning push notifications to the iPhone and updating content to apps. The service will handle the delivery of notifications to Apple, will provide aliases for your users so you can send specific messages to users, and will create a web interface to send targeted or broadcast messaging for updates or other information.
Urban Airship’s iPhone StoreKit Provisioning service will host content for in-app transactions and content updating, will keep an application’s download size small by offloading content to their servers, will provide updates to an app’s users when the developer changes content, will create a catalog of content that can be updating at anytime, and can be integrated with the startup’s push service to alert users when an app’s catalog changes. Urban Airship’s first client, Subatomic Studios, which developed the Fieldrunners app, is using Urban Airship to help update and deploy new maps to its app, so users can enjoy additional map interfaces once they’ve exhausted existing levels.
Kveton says that they are targeting the iPhone market because its the most mature at the moment. But as developers add more apps to the Palm Pre, Blackberry and Andoid, Urban Airship hopes to provide services for these devices down the line. Urban Airship is still formatting its pricing model and provides technology that is only compatible with Apple’s updated iPhone 3.0 OS, which was announced today and will be rolled out to the public next week.