Interview

Urban Airship's Scott Kveton on filling in the IAP gaps left by Android Market

Urban Airship's Scott Kveton on filling in the IAP gaps left by Android Market
Almost all smartphone platforms now offer features such as in-app purchases and push notifications. Those services aren't as advanced as they might be however, and that's where US outfit Urban Airship comes into play.

It's been operating in this market since 2009; first gaining attention when it supported the launch of IAP within iOS 3.0 as used in Tapulous' Tap Tap Revenge 3.

Since then, it's gone on to deliver more than 2.6 billion push notifications across the iOS, Android and BlackBerry, and authenticated and delivered more than 2.8 million purchases via in-app purchases.

We caught up with founder and CEO Scott Kveton to find out how the business operates.

PocketGamer: As official app stores/platforms offer many default services, how hard is it to create a business that fills in their gaps?

Scott Kveton: The offerings that Google and Apple have built for their platforms are great but sometimes lacking the integrated tools and ease-of-use that developers - both big and small - need.

We're finding that our value is in providing advanced functionality on top of the platforms is quickly becoming a very compelling business.

In addition, many of our customers want a single dashboard for both sending notifications and delivery content (subscription or otherwise) to all the platforms they support. That's an area I don't see either Google or Apple getting into any time soon.

How easy is it to work with companies such as Apple and Google in terms of what features they allow you to offer?

We have worked directly with both Apple and Google on our offerings, keeping them apprised of what we're doing.

Each of those companies are definitely protective about their platforms and we keep a close eye on the terms of service to make sure we are staying within their bounds.

Why do you think clients will be interested in your new Android IAP platform?

I think we've become a trusted resource in helping developers get up-and-running with these kinds of services.

We did this with Apple's IAP solution from day one and have helped a lot of developers, not only with our services but in-depth how-tos and FAQs. We're already doing the same on Android.

Monetisation is to be a big issue on Android, so what can you offer in terms of a wider range of payment methods?

We're currently focused on the standard Google Checkout, however we're in talks with several carriers and handset makers to integrate our offerings into their payment offerings.

What other areas of mobile services do you think you could improve?

We're focused on how to drive engagement (via push notifications) and monetisation (via IAP) across all of the relevant mobile platforms out there.

There are a lot of other directions we could go but right now we feel those would be a distraction and honestly, something our customers just aren't asking for.

Thanks to Scott for his time.

You can find out more about Urban Airship's services via its website.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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