Lenovo Revives Windows 8 Start Menu with SweetLabs Pokki DealLenovo Revives Windows 8 Start Menu with SweetLabs Pokki Deal
Chinese PC giant Lenovo will restore the Start menu to Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows 8.1 by virtue of a deal with SweetLabs to pre-install its Pokki app platform on the computer maker’s machines worldwide.
August 23, 2013
Chinese PC giant Lenovo will restore the Start menu to Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows 8.1 desktop by virtue of a deal with SweetLabs to pre-install its Pokki app platform on the computer maker’s machines worldwide.
Under terms of the agreement, Lenovo will preload SweetLabs’ Pokki suite, which includes the Start menu, app store and game arcade, on to its notebooks and PCs. Pokki places a button in the familiar lower left portion of the Windows desktop that opens access to the Windows control panel, its app store and game arcade.
Microsoft is slated to release Windows 8.1 for general availability on Oct. 18. The new version features a Start button but no Start menu.
Lenovo initially will take a multi-platform approach to pre-installing the Pokki software, starting with its IdeaPad laptops, ThinkPad laptops and IdeaCentre desktops—all of which will be available in multiple regions globally. Using Pokki, Lenovo users can access traditional PC desktop apps, Pokki desktop versions of web and social apps, Pokki-specific apps and Windows Store Apps.
“Our collaboration with SweetLabs strikes the perfect balance between providing our customers great apps, and growing Lenovo’s business around app distribution,” said Peter Gaucher, Lenovo software and content services executive director. “The Pokki software suite complements the Windows experience, and we’re excited to work with SweetLabs to open up new distribution opportunities for app developers across our devices worldwide.”
SweetLabs said Pokki products have been downloaded by “tens of millions of Windows users.” The technology dynamically recommends apps in the Pokki Start menu, app store and game arcade to users through the company’s real-time app recommendation system to match apps to users. Adding Lenovo hardware to its portfolio significantly ups the distribution opportunity for app developers to gain visibility on the PC maker’s Windows 8 products.
“We started SweetLabs to create the world’s largest app distribution platform for developers, and today’s announcement with the No. 1 PC maker on the planet, Lenovo, is a massive step in the right direction,” said Darrius Thompson, SweetLabs co-founder and chief executive.
SweetLabs also said the OEM version of Pokki has added support for distribution of multiple app types as well as 13 languages, including German, Portuguese and Russian.
The San Diego-based company, which began operations in 2008 and is backed by some $21.5 million in venture money from Bessemer, Google (GOOG) Ventures, Intel (INTC) Capital, and O’Reilly AlphaTech, positions itself as an app distribution company that helps developers reach users. SweetLabs also maintains an engineering office in Seattle. It launched Pokki for Windows 8 in October 2012 and, as of March claimed some 3 million downloads of the Start menu platform.
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