Microsoft’s introduction of Windows 8 was hard for a lot of people to grasp, particularly because of the death of the Start menu. However, the Start menu never completely left us, as companies began releasing apps to fill the Start menu void. SweetLabs, makers of Pokki, an app that puts the Start menu back in its place while also adding a number of other features, announced plans to team up with the world’s leading PC manufacturer, Lenovo. With this partnership, an updated version of Pokki will be pre-installed on new Lenovo machines and released globally.
According to a press release from SweetLabs, Pokki, which places a little “acorn” button where the Windows Start button used to be, gives users access to its app store and game arcade, as well as the Windows Control Panel (one of the harder things to find in Windows 8). Think of Pokki as a way to have access to all your favorite apps directly from the desktop, similar to a home screen on a smartphone.
Pokki is also an app distribution platform, with apps such as Pinterest, Angry Birds, Sound Cloud, Spotify, Twitter, and hundreds more available. Today’s announcement also brings an improved app store and app recommendation platform, which will now support additional app types, including the traditional Windows desktop apps, like Dropbox, Evernote, and Skype, as well as Pokki desktop versions of Web and social apps, like Facebook and Gmail. Pokki also has Windows Store apps, like Cocktail Flow, Neftlix, and USA Today, as well as unique Pokki apps, like Instagrille (an Instagram app) and Tweeki (a Twitter app). As the Windows Store continues to grow and improve (after all, it’s still a bit of a mess), Pokki may be a good alternative.
Considering that Lenovo recently overtook HP to become the world’s largest PC maker, this is big news – but devastating news for Microsoft. As BetaNews points out, Lenovo choosing an alternative interface for Windows 8 machines suggests it’s not completely happy with the operating system. And though Windows 8.1 will bring improvements, it’s not bringing back the Start menu, just the Start button.
The Lenovo products loaded with Pokki will range from IdeaPad and ThinkPad laptops to IdeaCentre desktops. It’ll be interesting to see if any other OEMs follow suit.