Mobile services platform provider Urban Airship launched a new service for Android developers at the CTIA Wireless 2011 conference in Orlando, Florida this week. The service, Embedded Push for Android, is an end-to-end push notification system, an alternative to Google’s default solution, C2DM.

The benefits of the new solution include features like the ability to configure “quiet time,” plus Quality of Service guarantees and return receipts. The push system is also more battery-friendly than Google’s solution, says Urban Airship.

UA on Android

The service works entirely outside of Google’s stack, and supports more Android-based devices than Google’s own C2DM service does. Urban Airship works on any version of Android from 1.7 and up, while Google’s push notifications only work on phones running Android 2.2 (Froyo) and higher.

Citing recent OS market share figures which show that 31.6% of Android phones are still running Android 2.1, Urban Airship CEO Scott Kveton says “this is a significant subset of the app market that can’t be ignored.”

“App developers do not care which device a user carries in his pocket, whether it’s an iPhone, an Android running Froyo or Honeycomb, a Blackberry or a Nokia,” Kveton explained. “Our customers have been telling us that being able to reach all their end users is their goal. Period. Urban Airship serves this need.”

In addition to the “quiet time” feature, which lets users configure times when they don’t want to be interrupted, Urban Airship provides QoS, return receipts, an inbox of past notifications and it gives each app its own open connection that is synchronized to save battery life.

Brands Using UA on Android

Urban Airship already has several major brands using the push notification service within their Android applications, including ESPN in its SportsCenter app, the mobile shopping and rewards app Shopkick and also Tapulous, makers of Tap Tap Revenge, a Guitar Hero-like game for mobile.

Tapulous uses the alerts to tell game players when a friend has beaten their high score or has proposed a challenge, as well as when there are new songs available for purchase. Tapulous, incidentally, was the first app in the iTunes App Store to offer push notifications, which are also powered by Urban Airship’s service.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the company, here are some notable stats about Urban Airship, which it released this week, too:

  • Urban Airship has delivered more than 2.5 billion push notifications across the iOS, Android and BlackBerry mobile platforms.
  • It delivers more than 15 million push notifications each day.
  • Year over year, the number of notifications Urban Airship has delivered has increased by 1,555%.
  • Urban Airship has authenticated and delivered more than 2.5 million purchases via in-app purchase.
  • Customers make an average of 8 thousand in-app purchase transactions per day.
  • More than 100 million mobile devices are connected to the Urban Airship platform.

Developers can sign up for the new Push for Android service beta here.

sarah perez