Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SDK v0.6 - Add a Notification Feed

Get the new SDK v0.6 that we just pushed out today.  It has the new Notification Feed in it.  The

The Notification Feed feature is something that we think all applications should have.  It gives a way for users to go back to notifications they received in the past, but more importantly, they developer can cluster many notifications together and only send one to the system.

This feature is live in the Best Apps Market app.  It is used here to the right and you see there are 5 new apps they are letting their users know about.  But instead of sending 5 notifications, they only send the one is yellow saying "Enjoy 5 new Apps!" is sent to the system.  The user benefits by not getting overwhelmed and when they click on the notification they come to feed where they see all the 5 items.  They can then pick the one app that interests them and save time.

The history is there forever too.  So a user can come back to the feed on something they miss and not loose it.  The app developer will get more clicks and a happier user, so everyone benefits.

This cool new feature is going to be something that all developers will need to add to their application.   So get started now by installing the BuzzBox Notification SDK.  Be one of the first and show how you are ahead of everyone else.

If you have anymore questions about the Notification Feed, feel free to contact me at

Thanks again to all the apps using the SDK.

Anu, Roberto & Walter

Friday, April 15, 2011

1 Million Notifications Sent with BuzzBox SDK!!

So it's been 1 month since the launch of the BuzzBox SDK and we it has been used to send over 1 million notifications!!!   WOW!!! 

We are really proud of the success of the SDK.  It's great to have developers download the SDK but it's even better to see that so many notifications are being sent.  We have gotten great feedback on the value of the BuzzBox SDK from developers and we wanted to share that with you.

1) Simplicity To Integrate - We've been told by developers that the ease to integrate was important so they could test out how their users reacted to notifications.  They can focus on other features of their app then come back to notifications if there was a lot usage, but it made some of their vocal users happy that their app had notification now.

2) Reach All Android Users - Push Notifications don't reach users of Android version 2.1 and lower which is about 33% of all Android phones.  With our simplified polling techniques developers have told us they like they can reach everyone around the world.

3) Polling Works - Polling can drain the battery, but only if you poll every 5 minutes.  Many notifications from apps don't need to be real-time and developers have said that polling every hour or 30min is ok with their users.  Also, getting users back 1/day or even 1/week is very important to keep the active installs high for apps.

We are really glad to hear this affirmation from our community about the BuzzBox SDK.  We are working on the next features like the Notification Feed & Battery Conservation as well as how best to add Push Notifications.  We want to future proof notifications for our developers so they can focus on other aspects of their app.

Well we are going to go our for a beer to celebrate!!  It's a great milestone for us!

If you have feedback, we'd love to hear from you.  Please email me at

Anu, Roberto & Walter

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Android Market May Rank App Stickiness

So this is an interesting post I just read from MyYearBook Did Android Market Change Its Ranking Algorithm? on Business Insider They have a few apps in the Android Market.

The post claims that the Android Market is now tracking and rewarding apps with high DAU/MAU (Daily Active Uniques/Monthly Active Uniques).  DAU/MAU is a common term used by Facebook and Facebook app makers to judge stickiness.  The blog post shows apps that have benefited from a high stickiness with their organic rank in the Market rising.

If this is the case, then it really means that getting users back to open your app every day matters a lot.  I do think some apps aren't going to open that often, like a calculator app, and I think they will get hit.  
Before developers would game the Market by putting keywords into their description, but now people are going to have to find ways to get people back more often to increase their DAUs.  The natural way would be start sending notifications to get users back.  BuzzBox, being a notification SDK company, thinks this is good but developers need to be careful too.

Trying to get users back to your app every day without them getting annoyed is hard thing. We have been focussing on this and we have some advice for developers.

1) Use a Standard Settings Menu -Users don't want a different settings menu to control notifications and to opt out.  If they find complexity or see you are hiding it, they will uninstall your app.  Make it simple and give control to the user.  The BuzzBox SDK comes with a standard Settings UI that developers can easily add to their app without any of the other modules.   Even if you don't use it, it is a good standardized way that we hope others adopt.

2) User Generated Is Better Than Company Generated - When available let the user create a notification they want.  Let them enter keywords alerts, follow topics & anything they want notifications on.  Do not force them to receive notifications on things they don't care about.  The more the you have the user input in about themselves, the better the notification will be received.

3) More Options are Better - Gives users more ways to control the notification.  Be sure to have a sleep at night so they don't get woken at night.  Let them control if it is a beep, vibrate or blink.  Give more controls, so they can find a reason to keep getting notifications.

Another item developers will now want to focus are is tracking and measuring notification success.  Some types of notifications may do better than others and in general you want to know quickly if you are sending too many or too little.  Both will now effect your rankings and the success of your app.  Again, the BuzzBox SDK has simple notification analytics you can use for for free.

Developers should really think about notifications more now.  I'd really like to hear what other people have to say about this.  Please email me at

Anu, Roberto & Walter

PS: I wrote a post about Stylized Notification and Notification Feed & Smart Notification Engine that developers may want to think about.  The posts show where we think notification development is going.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

v0.5.4 SDK - Make Your Notifications Sexy!!

Ok.  I hope the title caught everyone's attention. :)

So we've launched v0.5.4 and I think everyone will want this.  With this release, you can send Stylized Notifications to the system!  Something you can add easily with the BuzzBox Notification SDK or do a lot of work on your own.

Stylized Notifications
- Colored Background - Notifications can have a color background and pop out compared to other apps.
- Flag Icons - Add flag icons in the upper right of the notifications to specify more information.  You can show priority, types or other details you want to show.


See how the notification stands out.  You'll get
1) More clicks - Your notifications will stand out and get more clicks.
2) More brand awareness - Your brand color will show up outside your app.
3) More happy users - The flag icon helps the users know more about the notification before they click.

Check out our website and get our SDK here

Let us know what you think, we'd like to hear from you.

Anu, Roberto & Walter

Monday, March 28, 2011

Future of Android Notifications with BuzzBox SDK

Hi Everyone,

I've just published slides about what we are working on in the BuzzBox SDK.  The 2 major additions are a Notification Feed in each app and a Smart Notification Engine.   Take a look at the later slides for our future direction.  We are looking for guidance from the developer community on what they think of it.  It's your chance to influence our direction.

Notification Feed
The Notification Feed is feed of all the notifications sent from the app to the system.  This allows users to come back to missed notifications.  It's a great way to get more engagement from users.

Smart Notification Engine
The Smart Notification Engine will optimize the notifications sent to the user.  We have a few ideas here but again wanted our community to give us feedback on what they'd like.  We know everyone wants notifications, but too many can overwhelm the user and be a reason to uninstall the app. 

We've made the slides public to encourage a conversation on the future of Notifications on Android. This is our view and we'd love feedback from people.

Anu, Roberto & Walter

Friday, March 25, 2011

v0.5.3 SDK Launches with Language Support

Go get the new v0.5.3 SDK now!  We  have updated a lot of things and it should work better for you.

The biggest change is the support for foreign languages.  We had a developer in Spain want the Settings UI do be in Spanish, so the team worked hard the last few days to add that support.   Now you can add any language by setting the string.xml.  As you add other languages, please share it with us so the rest of the community can benefit too!

We also started documenting more in JavaDoc based on feedback from the community.  The APIs will be easier to implement but we'd love to get feedback on items you need more information on, so please feel free to email us on that.

Here are other changes we made too.
- change notification default
- rss task refactored
- broadcast START and END
- fix re-enable at the end of the task
- restartAll : removed the wait param

So go download the new SDK and take advantages of the SDK.

If you have ideas or suggestions, please contact me too at

Anu, Roberto & Walter

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Free Android Open Source RSS Reader App

We are moving forward quickly at BuzzBox with our SDK.  There have had many downloads and we want to encourage this further, so we have open sourced a simple RSS Reader App.  So if you have a RSS feed, you can has a custom app in a snap that has notifications and even a task bar.

This is a very simple open source app that uses 3 parts of the BuzzBox SDK:
  • Integrated RSS Parser
  • Notifications Settings
  • Notifications Log

So the app is a simple webview of a website, the current example uses Google News.  It has a background task that checks the RSS feed for a new entry and then gives a notifications when a new entry is posted so the users can come back and not miss anything.  The Notifications Settings provides ways for users to control the notifications and the Notifications Log lets them be sure their battery isn't wasted.  We recommend having both for your users.

This project is hosted on Google Code, so browse the source code there and start playing with it.

Please give us feedback and let us know what more is needed.

We have more things coming up soon.

Anu, Roberto & Walter