The day you got your brand new iPhone 3GS, Palm Pre, or Motorola Droid, there’s a fair chance you thought your days of endless loading screens was behind you. After all, each of these comes equipped with a high-powered processor capable of running 3D games and multitasking. Yet the loading screens persist. Operating system shortcomings aside, one of the biggest culprits is actually out of your phone’s hands entirely: the fault lies with backend server calls, as the apps you’re using request data from online servers. Sonoa Systems, the company behind Apigee, thinks it has the answer. It has built a cloud based service designed to helps companies optimize the data being sent to their mobile apps. And it says it can make these load times up to ten times faster.
Sonoa’s Mobile App Accelerator is based off of Amazon’s EC2. Developers send data through Sonoa as a proxy, which is in turn routed to mobile apps requesting the data. The proxy service optomizes using advanced caching and by automatically paginating data. In other words the company says it can send data to phones “drip by drip”, rather than as a large download that can be time consuming to fetch. The service can also translate data sent from the API from XML to formats that are more friendly to the mobile device downlading the data. The service will work for applications on mobile platforms including the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.
Sonoa says that it can decrease load times from 20 seconds to 1-2 seconds. And because it’s based on EC2, it can help your service scale if one of your mobile apps suddenly goes viral (or gets featured on the App Store). Obviously speeding up transfers has some secondary benefits, too — because users are downlading data for less time, this could help a bit with battery life.
Sonoa has actually offered services for managing web-based APIs for some time, allowing developers to manage access rules to their APIs. In August it launched Apigee, which the company likens to a Google Analytics for APIs. And, as it turns out, Apigee has become especially popular with mobile developers using it for analytics. Apigee is free to most users, but compared to Sonoa’s core offerings its features are rather limited. The Sonoa Mobile App Accelerator is the company’s answer for developers looking for a more robust, premium package.
Sonoa costs $3,000 monthly to start with, and will ramp up as customers choose to add more advanced features.