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The excitement about building applications for Apple’s iPhone continues to grow, with a number of new abilities soon available to developers with the release of version 3.0 of the iPhone operating system on June 17. But actually taking advantage of those cool features requires more work and iPhone-savviness than some developers may be able to provide, say Dan Burcaw and Joe Pezzillo, co-founders of a new startup called Push.io — and naturally, that’s where their company comes in.
“[When you hear Apple talking about push notification], it makes you think the whole thing is ready to go, but it’s not, which you discover when you’re in the thick of things,” Burcaw says.
So Push.io’s founders want to provide both the code and services needed to add these fancy backend features to iPhone apps. They haven’t fully opened for business yet, so they aren’t sharing all the details, but as the company name implies, additions supported by Push.io include push notification (allowing apps to communicate with users even when they’re turned off), plus a customer relationship management system for stores within apps.
In a similar vein, a company called Aurora Feint has released a platform called OpenFeint to help developers add social features to their iPhone games.
The eventual goal, Burcaw and Pezzillo say, is to provide a perfectly “turn-key” solution. In other words, developers will be able to visit the Push.io site, check off the features they want to add, and then plug those additions in to their app — though the process requires a bit more work for Push.io’s earliest customers (which the company isn’t naming yet). This will probably be most tempting to three types of customers, Pezzillo says: Individual developers, small development studios, and large, enterprise-size companies wanting to build business apps.
“A lot of these enterprises just want to dip their toe in; they don’t want to jump into iPhone development all the way,” says Pezzillo, who, outside of Push.io, helps enterprises developing iPhone apps. (Burcaw, meanwhile, is founder and chief executive of Double Encore, an iPhone development consulting company.) “It’s not just about lowering the barrier, it’s about lowering the risk.”
Push.io might eventually offer similar support for developers on other smartphones, the founders say. It’s self-funded and based in Boulder, Colo.