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Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) is a notification service provided as part of Amazon Web Services since 2010. It provides a low-cost infrastructure for the mass delivery of messages, predominantly to mobile users.
From the sender's viewpoint, SNS acts as a single message bus that can message to a variety of devices and platforms, from the Kindle Fire to Baidu. A single code interface can address all of these equally, or message formats can be tailored to the particular needs of each platform.
SNS uses the publish/subscribe model for push delivery of messages. Recipients subscribe to one or more 'topics' within SNS. Typically this is hidden from the user as an internal part of a mobile app. Receipt of a message may also be hidden from the user: this service is largely aimed at the internal processing of specific apps, rather than as a generic email substitute. A game might receive bonus level announcements or unlock keys for in-game purchases by this route. A ticket booking app could use it for confirmation vouchers, boarding passes or notifications of a delay to a flight.
Costs (2016) are quoted as $1.00 to send one million mobile notifications. Pricing varies according to the delivery mechanism: there is a charge to request a message ($0.50 /million) and a varying charge for how (and if) the recipient chooses to receive it. HTTP is cheapest for retrieval ($0.60 /million), email is around 30 times this ($20 /million) and SMS considerably (hundreds of times) more ($7,500 /million). Like most cloud services, initial access costs are kept low and there are no sign-up or subscription charges.
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