I really want Android live tiles. Widgets just aren't comparable.
Live Tiles are consistent, with only three square (rectangular) sizes to pick from. The fluid scrolling through them (rather than page by page) makes it feel more spacious. I have an entire home page dedicated to Facebook, for example, because the Facebook widget that shows me updates (and only one update at a time) takes up fully half the screen. The weather widget I use takes an entire line of icons, and the calendar widget takes up two columns by three rows. It's like playing a jigsaw puzzle trying to arrange a useful "live" home screen. Live Tiles are also visually consistent, which Android widgets are not (my Android home screen looks hideous).
A Live Tile is a app shortcut that also acts as a widget by displaying useful information. An Android widget is a widget that can also link to the application. That tiny difference is a huge gap in comparison.
With Lightning Launcher, you can also skip the grid altogether and freely align, scale and even rotate your widgets and zoom in and out in the launcher, if you want. It's very customizable.
There is a single "People" tile that shows me all the news from facebook and twitter in a single stream. There is another "Me" tile that shows my notifications about mentions or tags.
I think the most important thing is that tapping these doesn't feel like launching an app. I don't have to "go check facebook" and wait for it to load, and then "go look at twitter," etc. I just tap a tile, and in 4 seconds I have everything in one native-looking interface - it even honors the color scheme I picked for the phone :)
I'm curios, I haven't used Windows Phone, what's not comparable?
Do you think that's an accurate assessment?
Your assessment is not too far off. Live Tiles is a more elegant way of handling widgets.
But most widgets are not very interactive, they are more like app preview snapshots, with a tap to launch the app.
Live tiles are "free", they are the same icon that you would use to start the app and the look and feel is more uniform and rearrange between them in a more convenient way.
Also you can pin a lot of app specific items. For instance, from the people hub I can pin a tile of the whole app and/or pin specific people, and when you do that the tile itself seems like a different app. In my wife's tile I can see whatever she posted on Facebook or twitter, and also it serves as a shortcut to publish something on the wall, or to call or text her, it's just very convenient!
On Android push notifications are done through GCM (Google Cloud Messaging), when it's sent your application gets a callback (Intent). So it is up to the application to decide what to do with it, whether it is to show a notification or do something else entirely. So on Android you have a pretty good idea that the the user is actually getting a notification. Jelly Bean and up you can also do very rich notifications with images and actions built right into it.
On iOS when a remote push notification is received there is no indication sent to the application at all. The only way the application knows something has happened is if the user actually opens the notification.
I haven't programmed on windows phone, so I am not sure how much an app developer knows that a user is viewing a live tile or not. Maybe someone who's built one can chime in.
Overall it seems to me, that what the author is describing is Android, where the app developer has at least some feedback as to whether a user is seeing the notification (albeit not an exact: user has seen x notif).
I'm not well versed in push notifications, but I thought this was part of the value that a company like Urban Airship would provide?
The actual push notification itself is entirely untrackable unless the recipient actually taps on it, or it is received while your app is running. IIRC you can read out the application's badge number, but that only shows you what the most-recently-received notification was (if it set a badge value), it implies nothing about any intermediate ones. There is no way to list the notifications, nor count them. You can do this with local ones you generated yourself, but not ones pushed to the device.
While someone is actively in your app, you do get a method called that gives you the notification as it arrives - which is handy, because the system entirely mutes it (doesn't go into the notification center, doesn't appear at the top of the screen). You can do that to do a negative tracking system ("they didn't receive this, don't count it in the stats"), or to show it yourself.
The push notification can have a payload that your app uses when the app is opened via the notification.
I tend to open a ton of tabs and leave them open (particularly if they're interesting and I want to re-read it or refer to it in a blog post), but the constant oscillation of that tab icon is so distracting that I feel compelled to close that tab as soon as possible since it's going to get in my peripheral vision as I do other work (it's even distracting me as I type this very post!)
I thought the blog post was really interesting but now the only thing I remember about the site is the obnoxious icon, and it compels me not to look at the archives for other potentially intriguing posts :(.
Dear OP, please change that icon. I think it will increase readership and good will of your otherwise interesting blog.
Back in the day, I was getting harassed about my friend's achievements in Farmville or Mafia Wars on Facebook. More recently, some app my wife installed lets me know every time I'm within a quarter mile of a Target store. The beauty of iOS is that I don't need to deal with a dozen little icons demanding attention like in Windows.
The Windows 8 approach is refreshing, I'm curious to see how it develops.
> The beauty of iOS is that I don't need to deal with a dozen little icons demanding attention like in Windows.
This is confusing to me. Aside from Java updates and similar things that are largely hidden, what icons in Windows demand your attention? One thing I don't like about iOS is all the badges on icons, which, to my psyche, are much more demanding.
I'm on my work Windows 7 laptop right now, and I've been bothered by the following since 7:30 when I came in:
- SCCM has some updates for me that must be installed in 7 days
- AV is slowing down my computer, for my safety.
- Some printer is unavailable
People at home get bombarded with Java, Adobe, and other apps whining about updates or whatever. Microsoft recognized this as a serious enough problem that it basically hides most toolbar icons automatically. (I have 19 on the work laptop, with 4 visible)
Again, maybe I'm just naive about how it all works, but it seems like it could be a pretty measurable metric already?
You can do this today on Android.
Then what is the point of having apps? Isn't this just cramming a lot of extra bits into the notifications? I think if all apps did more and more in the notifications, people would start to say it was cluttered or difficult to use/read.
The great thing about notifications for me is they are quick and simple. If I want to do more, the application is a click away. I don't need a faux app inside the notifications panel.
I think real-time updates can work really well in a google glass world, especially with smart watches. Although they can cause trouble if you're trying to focus on something. I foresee a hide-notifications button next to the mute button one day.
Just like the no-click movement, a notification-heavy world will probably piss off analytics people, until metrics on data displayed/consumed notifications come out.
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So why is one on the rise and the other falling? Is this yet another example of the apps-win-over-the-web trend? Is the problem with iGoogle that it was trapped in the browser? Is it that iGoogle was one company's little piece of the web versus an idea that is being pushed as the front-and-center UI for an OS?
Must be on Android 4.1+ I believe though. I dont think ICS had it. There's also a bug in blocking notifications for 4.1 that inadvertently blocked Toast messages within apps as well, but it was fixed on 4.2. Just something to be aware of if you go blocking them and a developer was not aware enough to avoid putting important info in Toasts.
I think this will just end up in a popup nightmare anyway. "you have 50 notifications - 45 requires a reply"
inline or not: yay.
Basically the summary for iOS is really the push is received by the notification center -own by Apple, and your app has no access to it when it run. Technically too if you go in the iOS settings and decide to remove the app from the Notification Center screen, then the pushes start to be 'lost'.
The concept of push is good and iOS now are better than in the past but they are far from being perfect and the iOS settings screen is a mess/confusion when you start playing with it.
These are all vanity metrics, not revenue metrics. There is no problem in adding a new one to the list: "Notifications served" and assuming they are received by engaged users. Just like page views and visits, as good and as bad.