Thoughts on ArkSwitch, my first "popular" app

I think I can safely say that, to date, I've not really released anything that I could consider popular. Things like The Vista Syn are useful tools for a very limited audience. That's exactly what I expected when I released ArkSwitch, a finger-friendly Windows Mobile 6.5.1+ task manager. After all - it's a task manager, which there are plenty of out there; for an unreleased version of WinMo; and it doesn't even have the coolest features of other task managers, like taking over the X button.

Well, that's not entirely how it happened.

I released the app around 11 PM on 2010-01-14 on the xda-developers forum, which is pretty much the best Windows Mobile forum out there, even though it (currently) only has HTC-manufactured devices in its device-specific sections. It got a few downloads and some feedback posts, which I answered. I got a rather odd, generic-looking, PM (private message) the next day, saying that somebody put the app up on their website and that I am "now famous", which I found humorous since it was posted to a website I've never heard of. Regardless, people kept commenting and offering suggestions for ArkSwitch. I released two newer versions with more enhancements. And a few days after that, I decided to do a search for "arkswitch".

I did not expect to find what I did. First of all, it was apparently available on a few mobile warez sites, which is a bit strange, because I released ArkSwitch as freeware. But stranger yet, I found a lot of mentions on various mobile software-related websites! Not only that, but it was in multiple languages, too! I found news entries and forums threads in Russian, Spanish, French, Polish, Turkish, Arabic, and Chinese. There are probably more; I didn't go through too many pages of results.

Frankly, I am rather surprised. I never expected ArkSwitch to take off like that. At time of writing, just the latest version has over 1700 downloads on xda-developers alone, and hundreds more on the various other sites that are hosting it themselves. I am, of course, pleased that people are enjoying my work. This experience only inspires me to do more things like it. I have been meaning to work on a couple more apps, but I've been lazy about it. Maybe now I will actually do it.

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