I bought my LG Optimus 7 as soon as it was available in stores in my country, and literally couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I’ve been a fan of Windows-powered mobile devices ever since I got a Dell Axim X5 back in 2002, but at the time I had an iPhone 3GS and I was pretty happy with it, so I really didn’t know which phone I would be carrying in my pocket the day after. Needless to say, I immediately feel in love with Windows Phone 7.
As I had used both an iPhone and an Android powered phone, I knew the importance of an ‘App Store’. Really, it’s the best thing that happened to mobile devices EVER, in my eyes. Thousands of developers countributing to a platform growth, and at the same time making some money with their apps, if not a living. I knew that the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace should have become a HUGE deal in order to contribute to the platform sucess.
And there it was in all of its glory: the first few apps were available for free downloading and/or purchasing, the growing croud of independent developers were all excited to start distributing their apps worldwide but.. wait, where am I supposed to get info about the apps and the Marketplace if I don’t have the Zune software installed, if I am on my Macbook, at an Internate Café, or at work? That’s right, pretty much nowhere. Could this really have been overlooked? Either way, I wanted a quick way for me to keep an eye on new apps releases, grab some info about the latest app I heard about, look up some app I wanted on my device, keep an eye on the Marketplace growth, etc.. These info were nowhere to be found, but they were surely lying somewhere..
That’s when the first prototype of what I call ‘the WP7 watcher’ was born: a few lines of code gave me all the info I was looking for at any time. But why would I have to keep that for myself?
So a tiny website came to life soon after, and the best thing about it was that almost everyone with a WP7 device seemed to like the idea, and find a reason to visit again. I’m pretty used to building websites for a ‘community’, most likely in exchange for nothing, expecially if the website subject is one of my passions. Luckily (for me!) that was the case, as in a few weeks WP7applist.com became the most successful fansite I built to date: it is now, according to Alexa.com, among the 100K most popular websites in the world (and 6K in my own country, Italy).
As you can see, it went very well beyond my best expectations, and what’s even better is that it still seems to grow in popularity day after day. It requires a lot of work, in terms of mantainance and developement of new features, but trust me.. it’s well worth it. One of the things I like the most is that I can actually help indie developers (like I am, even if I don’t have an app ready for the Marketplace yet) stand out from the crowd, gain some more exposure for their great apps.. and do my best to possibly help the Marketplace itself grow in popularity.
Also, this is the first website of mine that pays for itself with ads, which doesn’t hurt seen as running a popular website and keeping it alive really requires a lot of time, effort, an – in a real world – money. So let me say thank you to everyone for the support: as long as I keep on receiving such great feedback via email, WP7applist is all over the web thanks to dedicated news portals, Facebook and Twitter, and as long as someone from Microsoft itself spends a minute of their time to congratulate for my work.. WP7applist is definitely having long life