Android Push Notification

December 1, 2009 - android / java / Tech Tips

Push Notification:

Push Notification allows an Android application to listen for messages being ‘pushed’ to it from the server.
Through Push Notification, our apps can provide uses even when they aren’t running.

Different techniques that could be used for push notifications in android:

1)  Polling:  In this technique device is polling the server on a regular basis to see if there is anything there.


Polling that heavily just to check for notification is not a good idea,that would hurt battery life pretty badly after not too long.

2)  Creating a service: In this technique service create a persistent connection to your server.
This will also drain the phone’s battery and it will create problem on server side also if you had more users

3)  SMS: In this method clients gets notified by SMS.


This technique is better as compare to other techniques because:

1) Transfer content as soon as available
2) Save device battery
3) Reduce data traffic for user

Way to implement push via SMS:

1) Your application should add permission in manifest :
Permission:  <uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.RECEIVE_SMS” />
2) and Registers a BroadcastReceiver, either in the manifest XML or in Java, and will get control when the events occur.
<receiver android:name=”.ReceiverClass”>
<action android:name=”android.provider.Telephony.SMS_RECEIVED” />
3) SMS Header may contain “app port” field that is dedicated range of free usable port numbers.Port handling not yet supported in Android 1.6.
4) You’d have to parse the PDU and get the port from there manually, you can listen to all SMS messages, parse the PDU of each incoming message and see if the destination port
matches the one that you are expecting. But so can other there’s no way to ensure that just one specific app gets to know about an incoming SMS to a specific port.
5) After matching ports appliaction can handle notification with the help of notification manager.
The problem with this method is that Android currently has no way to cancel the notification that is sent by the messaging app.So for every notification your app gets, the OS will also show a text message.


  1. Tanmoy Biswas says:

    This is what I actually needed………

  2. Tanmoy Biswas says:

    Very helpful information….

  3. Xtify offers a free push notifications service for developers.

    Using our SDK and webservice, developers can easily integrate push notifications into their applications – eliminating the need to create your own service or use expensive SMS.

    With Xtify you can also set up notification triggers based on user’s location!

    check us out or email

  4. 두둥실구름의 생각

    Android Push Notification

  5. vineet says:

    Could you please let me know how to handle DRM Content in Android, for e.g what all DRM Types are supported in Android.
    Is there anything which is similar in Android like PUSH Router of Windows Mobile.

    Thanks a Lot

  6. Jelly says:


  7. Jay says:

    Good Post.

    On a side note. What will be the impact on performance and battery drain if a service listens to a port on the device and the servers pushes the any new content to the ip and port of the device.

    To resolve the problem of the changing ip of the device, we can always publish the ip to server whenever there is a change. Hope Android lets you register for a call back on ip change.

  8. Rudy says:

    There is another method. Connect, and send a notification to server. The server will get your current IP address, and will initiate a connection to that listener if receive anything, and close the connection until you send a notification not to receive a push.
    You only need to do another “poll” if your IP address change to let the server knows.

  9. I’ve implemented the second solution that you mention using the MQTT protocol. I wrote a tutorial on my blog, which has sample code and a demo. Check it out, if you are interested:

  10. Dave says:

    Check out the Deacon Library – – it is an Android library for push notifications using the Meteor push server. Free and open source, and in need of beta testers!!

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  12. Suresh Nariya says:

    Hi Tanu,Nice Post!!!

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