it’s with a heavy heart that we share with you the news that TouchMountain will be shutting down on December 31th, 2018.
The past seven years have been an incredible journey for all of us. What started as a university industry project at MIT Cloud Innovation AG shortly after Windows Phone 7.5 launched, quickly grew into an award-winning app, with love and support from almost 70′000 users. Our database stored almost 900′000 different mountains, overall almost 100′000 peaks have been recognized, and the top peaks (Mount Everest, Matterhorn, Rigi, Pilatus) were each recognized thousands of times. We want to say a big THANK YOU to all our users, supporters, testers and sponsors/partners 😍
When Christian Lüthold and I were looking for an industrial internship as part of our studies in computer science at the University of Zurich in early 2011, we found fantastic support and supervision by Linard Moll and Peter Meyer from MIT Cloud Innovation AG, who invited us to work on the app and later keep on maintaining it. Back then, Windows Phone was a very young, but promising new platform, and we were in love with the beautiful, clean metro design.
TouchMountain was the first Augmented Reality app in the Windows Phone store (probably one of the first 1000 apps overall), and was quickly picked up by enthusiast Windows Phone users, blogs, and Microsoft. After a few months, TouchMountain reserved the #1 spot in the German, Austrian and Swiss marketplace for multiple months (guess who loves to visit the mountains the most 🚵♀️). About a year later, TouchMountain won it’s first award from Swisscom (the largest mobile phone operator in Switzerland) – Windows Phone app of the year. We were stoked, which only motivated us to push harder and improve the app even more. Early 2013, TouchMountain won a European-wide award by Nokia – the Geek 8-Week Challenge Showcase award. I got invited to pitch TouchMountain at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in front of about a thousand people 😮. And a few weeks later, we won the Microsoft Outdoor App special!
During the next months, we got the chance to talk about building TouchMountain, Augmented Reality, and its future with prominent blogs, including WindowsArea.de (who over all the years have tremendeously supported us), Netzwoche, Microsoft Developer, Nokia Connect, and more.
Unfortunately, it’s success was abruptly stalled at the end of 2016, when it became clear that Microsoft didn’t succeed with Windows Phone (then called Windows 10 Mobile) and they’ll not support the platform for much longer. Being still avid Windows Phone fans (simplicity, stability, design), we were devastate, but there was not much we could do. As a result, there was a rapid decline of the overall Windows Phone userbase, meaning we also lost thousands of users 😥, who had to look for a new app to recognize peaks worldwide on Android or iOS.
For as long as we could and felt it made sense (meaning there were still a few hundred active users each month), we kept on maintaining TouchMountain with updates, bug fixes, and even minor improvements. However, as the backend programming-language version (for geeks: PHP) we used loses support at the end of the year and we obviously cannot invest in porting everything to a new infrastructure anymore, we decided to shut TouchMountain down.
Once again, we want to THANK EVERYONE for their great support 🤝 and interest! All the friendships we made, the innumerable amount of suggestions and future requests we received, the compliments that were sent to us for the app or our support, the many blogs and companies who supported us and spread the word, MIT Cloud Innovation AG who financed the whole journey, and Microsoft/Nokia who provided us with tremendeous support over the first years (developer devices, advertisement, counseling). Also many thanks go to our family and friends who supported our countless trips to the mountains to test the app, and accepted when we were working late or on weekends to fix an urgent bug or deliver our next update. It was an amazing journey and we are glad we did it with you!
We removed TouchMountain from the Windows Phone store today. Users who downloaded it can still re-install the app using the download-link, but there will be no new downloads possible. TouchMountain will remain working until December 31, 2018, when we will shut it down. Please let us know in case you have any further questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
André Meyer and TouchMountain-Team
This post first appeared on the TouchMountain-Blog.