Push Notifications vs SMS

What's the difference between a text message and a push notification?

When I’m out talking to people who use Konnective, the one thing that I hear most about is how they love the push notifications that they get sent from Konnective.

These happen whenever a new News or Event item get posted on the app from the organisation(s) that they are following.

So what’s a push notification I hear you ask and why are they different from text messages?

A push notification is a way for an app to send information to your phone (via a badge, alert, or pop up message) even when the app isn’t in use. Push notifications only require a data network, so wi-fi or cellular. This means that in addition to standard smartphones, it works with Wi-Fi iPads or iPods which don’t have mobile network enabled.

Interestingly, I read an article last week that said that for the first time ever there has been a reduction in the number of text messages sent in the US on previous years. This is largely because of the greater of use of iMessage as well as Push Notifications. The advantages of push notifications over text messages are many:

  • Text messages cost money where push notifications are free to send
  • Push notifications can be more easily customised. For example, in Konnective when sending a message it's possible to send it without the alert sound that you get with an SMS. This means that people are less interrupted but will still see the notification when they next look at their phone. For urgent messages, there is the capability to send a sound as well as the message.
  • Better control by users. Users can change they way they receiving push notifications to suit their needs. They can change them to be more visible or completely turn them off (something I wish I could do with text messages sometimes!)