Following Monday’s reveal of Windows Phone 8, the most recent update to Microsoft’s mobile phone operating system, backend service provider Urban Airship is announcing that it has entered into an agreement with Microsoft to be the preferred provider for push messaging services on the new platform.
What this means is that the two companies have not only been working closely together ahead of Windows Phone 8’s launch, they’ll also be working together going forward. It’s likely that you’ll see Urban Airship involved in various sales training and developer training activities from Microsoft in the future. The companies are not referring to this agreement as a “partnership,” however, but are rather characterizing this as “an alliance.”
Starting today, Urban Airship will offer a single codebase client library for use by Windows developers, which works with both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 applications. As with Urban Airship’s backend-as-a-service offerings for BlackBerry, Android and iOS, app developers will be able to broadcast notifications and target messages to app users to increase users’ engagement, maximize retention, or to enhance the app’s core offering in some way.
As of launch, Urban Airship’s Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 solution is still in beta, offering only push notifications. But according to Coleen Carey, Urban Airship’s director of product marketing, the plan is to roll out UA’s complete feature set to developers by Q1 2013. These features, of course, are the differentiating factor as to why developers would select a third-party service over the base level of functionality that ships with Windows’ own platform.
As you may recall, Microsoft announced Windows Azure Mobile Services earlier this summer for Windows 8 and today expanded it to Windows Phone 8. With Urban Airship, though, developers will soon have access to more tools and features, including “rich push” messages (messages with more than just text), analytics and reporting, audience segmenting (for targeting purposes), geo-fencing, and more.
The client library for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will be live on Urban Airship’s website today (not as of time of publication, however), or developers can email the company for more information.