Push Notifications on the iPhone are great, but they can be impossible to manage. That’s why Boxcar, a Push Notification management app, is brilliant, and has long been one of my favorite apps. Unfortunately, as great as it is, like Apple itself, it is also a closed system. But now, it’s opening up.
What I mean by closed system is that Boxcar only serves up notifications for a select few services, such as Twitter and Facebook. But with its new Provider feature (and API), anyone can tap into the Boxcar platform to enable Push Notifications through the service.
This step has been in the works for a few months creator Jonathan George tells us. But it comes just weeks after a competitor, Notifo, started offering the same thing. However, unlike Notifo, Boxcar subscriptions and settings are easily managed from within the iPhone app itself, rather than having to visit a site to manage things.
And there’s another potentially huge benefit.
Beginning in Q2 2010, Boxcar is going to open up these provider notifications to be monetized. What this means is that third-parties can charge customers for the ability to get Push Notifications and Boxcar will share the revenue from the in-app purchase as a 50/50 split. It’s worth noting that this would work only for one-time purchases, and not for subscriptions. Still, this is potentially a nice way for third-parties to make some money without having to worry about building an maintaining their own Push Notification system.
Unlike Notifo, Boxcar plans to review all services that want to use the providers feature to maintain some order. And, as Boxcar notes:
There are two kinds of notifications – broadcast notifications, and individual notifications. Individual notifications are best used for action items, such as when a users comment is replied to. Broadcast notifications send the same message to every Boxcar user that has subscribed to your provider.
While the service currently only works for the iPhone, the plan is to launch an Android app within the next 90 days. After that, Windows Mobile support should come along.
But even without those other platforms, Boxcar is doing just fine. So far, the service has pushed over 100,000,000 Push Notifications to date.
You can find Boxcar in the App Store here. It’s a free download.