Definition: Real Push – Data is delivered as soon as it is available without the device having to ask for it.
This is how email currently works on your BlackBerry along with your calendar/tasks/contacts/memos if you are on a BES. The RIM infrastructure automatically sends the information to your BlackBerry without your BlackBerry having to constantly ask for it.
Definition: Polling – Client periodically asks a server whether an event of interest has occurred.
This is how most 3rd party applications work for your BlackBerry. For example, Viigo or SocialScope requests data from their servers at a set time. This is extremely inefficient since the device needs to constantly check even if there is nothing new which wastes battery life. This also causes delays since it has to wait until the next time it asks for data to update.
It looks like RIM is finally getting it. Josep let me know that RIM has put up a page for their new Hosted Push API Beta. (He spotted it in a post on FiveMobile) I am not sure when this went up but this is the first I have heard of it. (The accompanying PowerPoint is dated from October 2008 and the PDF is confused about a copyright sometime between 2007-08, and a search for this on Google shows no new results)
RIM tried opening up REAL push applications to developers using their WebSignals API but that failed miserably. I can’t think of one useful service that came out of that. I a constant barrage of emails from users asking me how to unsubscribe from those services.
Now RIM has decided to tackle this from a different angle. They have just published this page on their site along with a PDF and PowerPoint detailing their Hosted Push API beta. This beta will allow other 3rd party applications to use the same Push infrastructure that RIM uses. This would mean that applications like Viigo & SocialScope would no longer have to poll for information since the server will send them the information when they need it. This will also allow for applications like IM clients to compete with RIM’s clients.
RIM proposed some uses for this including the following list but I am sure developers are already wrapping their heads around what this can offer:
- Weather: forecasts, storm warnings, severe weather
- Sports scores
- News, Traffic
- Social Networking
Sadly it looks like the beta is currently only open to a limited number of partners but it should open up more soon. In their PowerPoint they do ask that you contact Mario Pereira-Bernardino for more information at email@example.com.
You can sign up for more information and read the two accompanying documents at the link below: