Last year, Microsoft launched Azure Mobile Services, a cloud backend for mobile applications. But at the time, it only supported Windows 8, and the team then added iOS and Windows Phone 8 support a short while later. Starting today, Android users can also connect their apps to Azure Mobile Services and use the platform to store their structured data, use its user authentication tools and send out push notifications.
The Android SDK is now available on GitHub and as Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie notes, the team welcomes community contributions. The SDK was actually developed by the Microsoft Open Technologies team, while the Azure team focused on the push support and the portal integration. To enable push notification to Android apps, developers still have to sign up for Google’s Cloud Messaging service.
Developers who are interested in getting started with connecting their Android apps to Azure can find a tutorial here, and Microsoft’s Channel 9 (the company’s long-running video site for developers) also features a video overview of the new tools.
With this update, Microsoft is also expanding Mobile Services’ reach to the East Asia Region. This, the company notes, will help developers to “reduce latency for applications with customers in Asia.”
These enhancements to Azure Mobile Services are part of a wider Azure update that also includes support for creating and managing SQL Reporting Services, Active Directory integration, availability monitoring and other enhancements across the platform. You can find more details about these changes here.
This release also brings the Azure Store, which gives developers the ability to easily add Microsoft and third-party add-ons to their Azure apps, to 22 new countries (up from the original 11 it previously supported).
Here is a full list of the new Azure features courtesy of Scott Guthrie:
- Mobile Services: Android support, East Asia Region Support, iOS dev content
- SQL Reporting Services: Support in the management portal
- Active Directory: Support in the azure management portal, user and domain management
- Availability Monitoring for Cloud Services. Virtual Machines, Web Sites, and Mobile Services
- Service Bus: New configuration tab and metrics
- Storage: Ability to download blobs directly in management portal
- Media Services: New monitoring metrics and quickstart experience
- Cloud Services: Support for .cer certificate files upload
- Localization support for five new languages
- Windows Azure Store Support in 22 Additional Countries