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Urban Airship, a platform-as-a-service company for mobile developers, has soft-launched a new MMS-style notification feature called “Rich Push” to help app makers better engage mobile users.

Co-founder and CEO Scott Kveton demoed the company’s newest feature for VentureBeat at the Intel Capital Global Summit today in Calif.

For those unfamiliar, Urban Airship is the super buzzy platform that developers and brands — think ESPN, Groupon and The White House — are using to power things like push notifications, subscriptions and in-app purchases. The startup just acquired SimpleGeo and secured $15.1 million in funding. Part of the funding came from Intel Capital’s just-announced $100 million AppUp fund.

Rich Push is essentially Urban Airship’s brand-friendly interpretation on MMS. The startup takes the standard push notification to the next level by enabling app makers to send coupons, surveys, videos and music content notifications that, when selected, open up inside their applications. So the mobile user goes from the notification on his screen to the customer’s application instantaneously.

Rich Push is included in the product offering and available to developers at no additional cost.

If it doesn’t sound like a big deal, chew on this: The White House and the Barack Obama 2012 campaign have already started using the feature to deliver content to mobile users. Urban Airship is also the only company offering mobile developers this type of plug-and-play functionality, Kveton told VentureBeat.

Urban Airship currently supports 30,000 mobile applications and has sent more than 7 billion notifications to 250 million devices, Kveton said.


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