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Amazon initiates TOTAL MOBILE DOMINANCE cloud strategy

Cut-price push notifications cut up partners, pressure Google

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As the landmasses of the world buckle beneath the combined weight of the fondleslabs and glossy mobs being churned out by China's industrial cities, companies are waking up to the need to control the technology, and so Amazon has added tech to its AWS cloud to give devs a cheap way to beam data out to Android, iOS, and Kindle devices.

The upgrades to the Amazon Web Services cloud's Simple Notification Service (SNS) were announced on Tuesday and see Amazon give developers a method for sending push notifications to a variety of mobile devices through one, unified API. This tightens competition with Microsoft, which already had a similar service in place, and puts both companies ahead of Google's cloud, which is for now Android-only.

It also sees Bezos & Co run over yet another cloud partner – this time, Parse, a cloud-based backend service for mobile application developers whose tech was so good Amazon first made it a case study, and now has apparently developed a similar technology. Parse could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

"We are enhancing Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) with Mobile Push to... support cross platform, device agnostic push notifications to iOS, Android and Kindle mobile devices natively within AWS," Amazon chief technology officer Werner Vogels, wrote in a blog post.

"SNS Mobile Push alleviates the need to build and operate one's own intermediary service, and enables developers to push once, deliver anywhere. This reduces the cost and complexity for developers, as they do not have to integrate and maintain different versions of the same push software for multiple mobile platforms."

Cloud rival Google offers a notification service specifically for Android devices, and Microsoft offers a broader "notification hubs" service that is able to deliver push notifications to Windows Phone, iOS, and Android, but no Kindle.

The Amazon service charges $1.00 to send one million mobile push notifications, with each message permitted 256KB, and pricing for requests being charged in 64KB increments. The first 1 million notifications are available for free.

This pricing model looks likely to affect other companies that specialize in mobile backends, including Parse which charges $199 a month for 5 million pushes per month, but also Urban Airship which offers Push services as well (although prices were not available at the time of writing).

We imagine both these companies will protest that Amazon's technology is far more limited than their more expansive offerings, and for now they'd be right – but given Amazon's frenetic pace of development, this will not hold true for long. (Just look at how the cloud has mimicked, then exceeded the capabilities of video transcoder Zencoder.)

As more and more data is delivered to mobile devices, owning the distribution channel and exerting sway over developers is going to be crucial for companies looking to attain long-term relevance – with SNS, Amazon is doing just that, and shoving aside some smaller companies in the process. So it goes. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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