SweetLabs to have its Pokki Windows 8 Start menu installed on all Lenovo PCs

SweetLabs, which incorporated its version of a Windows 8 Start menu in its free Pokki software package in October 2012, has announced that it will now be pre-installed on all of Lenovo's Windows 8 PCs. Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The press release said that the deal will not only bring a Start menu addition to Lenovo's PCs, it will also add the Pokki app store and game arcade as well. In June, SweetLabs announced a similar bundle deal with Acer, which means that the Pokki software bundle will be pre-installed on Windows 8 machines from the number one and number four biggest PC sellers in the world.

In a quick email interview with Neowin, SweetLabs marketing head Alan Masarsky said that the company "hit it off" when they first met with Lenovo a number of months ago. He added:

As evidenced by their recent takeover of the #1 spot in worldwide PC shipments (according to IDC), Lenovo continues to push the envelope with innovative new devices and we saw a natural fit to add our software to the mix. We believe this deal is fantastic for the entire PC and Windows ecosystem – helping users access and discover apps right from the desktop, and enabling developers to promote and distribute their apps to users.

SweetLabs also announced today that the Pokki app store and its app recommendation engine will add support for more app types, including traditional desktop apps, Windows Store apps, Pokki's desktop apps of web and social services like Facebook and Gmail and unique apps such as the Twitter desktop client Tweeki.

Masarsky told Neowin today:

We will continue to improve not only the menu but also our app discoverability points, such as the dynamic app recommendations and app store we provide. For example, we plan to expand support for developers who wish to promote their Windows 8 Store (fka “Metro”) apps as well.

Finally, Pokki is expanding its language options beyond just English with the addition of Chinese (simplified), Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), Swedish, Portuguese (Brazil), and Russian.

Source: SweetLabs via Business Wire | Image via SweetLabs

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft's former Windows head now working with founder of Netscape

Next Story

HTC 8X receiving new update to fix post-GDR2 lag and freezing issues

59 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

God, what a bunch of crybabies. An OEM offers something extra for customers and its as if Microsoft are getting robbed according to Neowin's members.

Javik said,
God, what a bunch of crybabies. An OEM offers something extra for customers and its as if Microsoft are getting robbed according to Neowin's members.

I think the real issue here is in the headline that only Neowin has taken liberty with...

'ALL' is not correct.

Lenovo is not putting this on 'ALL' their Windows 8 PCs, although they may be offering it. This is like when Lenovo said they were providing Windows 7 drivers for all their PCs and an option Windows 7 option for businesses, everyone reported it like Lenovo was abandoning Windows 8.

Since Lenovo sells through the Microsoft Store which requires Microsoft Signature, there is no way ALL Lenovo PCs will be have this software installed.

As I posted above, asking for the source from John about the 'ALL' in his headline that is misleading, there is not an exclusivity agreement to load this software on ALL systems.

I don't think many people would have cared if the headline more correctly read:
Lenovo to 'offer' Pokki as an option

I can now kind of sympathize with the Apple closed garden POI, to the extent that this is the kind of idiocy that will ruin computing on Windows in the long run. Now some people will have no idea why "Microsoft" made their computer have a "glitch" where they can't follow anyone else's computer tutorials because their Start Screen is missing. And the Windows Store might suffer if this Pokki garbage hides it.

Tangmeister said,
I can now kind of sympathize with the Apple closed garden POI, to the extent that this is the kind of idiocy that will ruin computing on Windows in the long run. Now some people will have no idea why "Microsoft" made their computer have a "glitch" where they can't follow anyone else's computer tutorials because their Start Screen is missing. And the Windows Store might suffer if this Pokki garbage hides it.
I agree Tang. I have always wanted Microsoft to go the Apple route with their OS. They do offer a clean OS if bought from their store but this should be standard on anything Windows. Tablets, Phones, Laptops and Desktops.

About 2 months after win8 was officially released I looked into all of the start menu replacements, having given the new metro start page the best shot I was prepared to give it. I tried them all out natively on the machine, knowing full well I was going to format it completely to start fresh afterwards.

As glossy and full of options as it was pokki was by far the most bloated, wasteful and at times actually worrying application I came accross.

it's installer was a downloader that pulled a large (16 mb?) installer, which then unpacked and started downloading another even larger installer. One of these two stages flagged up as infected on virustotal (I have notes on a different machine somewhere, this is rough as from memory). it installs in a non obvious location, wastes a but load of resources, and is basically a repackaging of chrome, running standard chrome apps, re-badging them as pokki apps.


Even though I fully expect the hit on virustotal was a false positive, I fully expect this to be the opening death knell for Lenovo's reputation.

Good for them, Pokki needs more exposure, it has great potential.

We don't need another classic Start Menu, we need a true revision that still makes sense on the desktop. Another frustration from MS being premature as usual.

I get bundling software, but preinstalling something that alters the UI is a little more than I like to see from any OEM.

Its annoying to have to go through the process of uninstalling this stuff. At least this is something that will uninstall properly. I've terrible experiences with Dells and Lenovos that came preinstalled with various app bars, etc that were a pain to uninstall.

I cant remember the number of times I've had to remove such things because they just confused consumers more.

Even if this is in response to a demand for the old start menu to return, this replacement is not the old start menu. Most general users will still be confused about how to it works with the rest of the system. Only the old start menu would allow for a quick transition to 8.

For those that want a start screen replacement, its clear this app isn't even that good compared to Start8.

I would suggest that if you want to offer this, create some sort of option for it during the first boot up. The user can decide if they want the extra software installed or not. We wouldn't want to start 'forcing' these things on users no would we? Give us a choice please.

Meh - Windows 8 and Server 2012 is a breeze when you actually take a few minutes to use it. Rather than rage and complain it's changed I wish some people would try and use it for more than 1 minute!

More proof that OEMs care about quick money than long term.

By doing this they are undermining the windows store and thus crippling the platform. Morons.

Crimson Rain said,
More proof that OEMs care about quick money than long term.

By doing this they are undermining the windows store and thus crippling the platform. Morons.

exactly. these companies are run by goofs that don't have any business sense other than selling the cheapest stuff they can make,even if it means its a big pile of crap. if it weren't for Microsoft software,they wouldn't exist. I cant wait for Microsoft to finally release a whole range of pc products from the smallest device to the largest,and put these idiots to shame.

Crimson Rain said,
More proof that OEMs care about quick money than long term.

By doing this they are undermining the windows store and thus crippling the platform. Morons.

Crippling the platform, as far as I'm concerned is them doing the right thing, I look at Modern UI/Metro once a day for 1 second while it gets disabled and the desktop is forced on, simply because I find it useless.

Windows 8 is the superior OS, I agree... BUT. Only with a start menu replacement. And that's my opinion.

Alera said,

Crippling the platform, as far as I'm concerned is them doing the right thing, I look at Modern UI/Metro once a day for 1 second while it gets disabled and the desktop is forced on, simply because I find it useless.

Windows 8 is the superior OS, I agree... BUT. Only with a start menu replacement. And that's my opinion.


Yes, just like DOS was better than Windows. Gimme DOS inside Windows damn it.

Crimson Rain said,
More proof that OEMs care about quick money than long term.

By doing this they are undermining the windows store and thus crippling the platform. Morons.

Windows store is pure garbage and even Microsoft doesn't care about it. Sorry. No reason for Lenovo to choose supporting Microsoft over supporting their own customers. It's not their job. Also..its not crippling the platform. Closing metro down to store is crippling the platform, as PCs have always been about freedom and openess. Removing that is that's crippling the platform and because of that the failure of Windows Store is the best thing that happened to PCs in the last years, as it saved us from pure diseaster of turning the whole ecosystem into closed garden.

Plus Microsoft clearly showed they can make their own PCs. So if they want something more pure they can do it themselves. No reason to expect OEMs to do anything that doesn't benefit them or their customers.

If you are in the US, buy any brand of PC including Lenovo, from Microsoft Store and it will come with Microsoft Signature out of the box, it guarantees a Vanilla installation of Windows, with NO Crapware.

Just saying, for people they don't know about it so they can have that in mind.

From the extra app store, to yet another "start" button, to even more icon shortcuts, this all seems very redundant.

This would be what, the 4th Start button? One on the charms bar, task bar, keyboard, and sometimes the Windows button on tablets.

And with this there would be four possible places people could be launching apps from, the taskbar, desktop, start screen, and this menu.

Options and choices are usually good. This seems to be more like clutter.

Maybe Lenovo should just be putting windows 7 on there instead of loading it with bloatware that will then be blamed on Microsoft.

efjay said,
Maybe Lenovo should just be putting windows 7 on there instead of loading it with bloatware that will then be blamed on Microsoft.

Indeed since from a usability standpoint windows 7 is far superior to 8.

You can still order a new ThinkPad with Windows 7 Pro installed. It comes with Windows 8 Pro discs and a Windows 8 Pro sticker on the bottom. So, making a system image is important in case of a hard drive failure or system corruption. Using free Macrium Reflect is much faster for hard drive imaging than Windows 7's built in system image program or burning factory state recovery discs, which takes several hours.

Order_66 said,

Indeed since from a usability standpoint windows 7 is far superior to 8.

As ThisIsStockerHD said, that is your opinion. What is not an opinion, and is actually fact, is that Windows 8 is a superior OS to Windows 7 once you put aside the controversial Modern UI. Explorer is better, multi-monitor support is better, task manager is better, boot times are better, app load times are better for the most part, game performance is also better in many cases.

TCLN Ryster said,
Explorer is better, multi-monitor support is better, task manager is better, boot times are better, app load times are better for the most part, game performance is also better in many cases.

Some of those things are more opinions, not facts.

Ha Ha Ha little dot.
First of all thanks god, you are not Microsoft, also I do not believe the Americans are able to put much pressure on the Chinese

I got my friend an ideapad, awesome laptop; but I spent atleast an hour uninstall all the bloatware that it comes with.

This means I wont get a Lenovo if I can't uninstall it. Don't want my Windows looking like some iOS/Android lovechild.

pantera9 said,
This means I wont get a Lenovo if I can't uninstall it. Don't want my Windows looking like some iOS/Android lovechild.

It's Windows, of course you can uninstall this. They're not going to force things customers don't want on them. Unlike Microsoft.

Ambroos said,

It's Windows, of course you can uninstall this. They're not going to force things customers don't want on them. Unlike Microsoft.

This'll be the first thing I uninstall if I get one my way. Belongs in the recycle bin with all the other **** UI's OEMs have bolted on over the years.

Ambroos said,

It's Windows, of course you can uninstall this. They're not going to force things customers don't want on them. Unlike Microsoft.

Nobody forced anything on you, buying and/or continuing to run Windows 8 was and continues to be your choice.

pantera9 said,
This means I wont get a Lenovo if I can't uninstall it.

I don't see how Lenovo could prevent you from uninstalling it. It's not as if the software is running from read-only memory.

Ambroos said,

It's Windows, of course you can uninstall this. They're not going to force things customers don't want on them. Unlike Microsoft.

Microsoft is not forcing you anything. I use start 8 and I am a happy user. I love my windows 8 with start 8

TCLN Ryster said,

Nobody forced anything on you, buying and/or continuing to run Windows 8 was and continues to be your choice.

This is where you're wrong, many features are only available in Windows 8 both because Windows 7 can't support those new features and because Microsoft is artificially not making them work. You can't have full DirectX11.1 without Windows 8, not a big deal right? Because nothing really uses it right now. But think ahead, what about Windows 9 and future DirectX versions? I can only see it going one way, and that is being forced into something if you want to game or have new features.

Ambroos said,

It's Windows, of course you can uninstall this. They're not going to force things customers don't want on them. Unlike Microsoft.

On the other side, Microsoft is allowing them to easily modify the start menu.

SweetLabs to have its Pokki Windows 8 Start menu installed on all Lenovo PCs

I could not find anywhere that stated this was an exclusivity agreement, meaning that it will be 'available' but NOT a mandatory installation on ALL systems from Lenovo.

Since Lenovo is offered by Microsoft Stores, by definition these systems cannot include this software to be sold by Microsoft or meet the 'Microsoft Signature' requirements.

If you have a source for the 'ALL', please provide it.

Dot Matrix said,
If I was Microsoft, I'd be all over Lenovo like a bag of bricks...

If anything Microsoft should be thanking them.

Dot Matrix said,
If I was Microsoft, I'd be all over Lenovo like a bag of bricks...

its not bad although I like start 8 better. If you use touch screen device this **** is meaningless, if not its just OK I guess

I think its pretty clear at this stage that every OEM can do whatever they want to the 'experience' and MS won't say a thing. Compaq/Lenovo anyone?

Dashel said,
I think its pretty clear at this stage that every OEM can do whatever they want to the 'experience' and MS won't say a thing. Compaq/Lenovo anyone?

You are right as MS has lost its arm twisting power of OEMs. Lenovo is the only vendor left who has profitable sale and every other OEM is struggling with declining PC sales and we all know why. Hint: Start menu coming preinstalled on Lenovo.

Auditor said,

You are right as MS has lost its arm twisting power of OEMs. Lenovo is the only vendor left who has profitable sale and every other OEM is struggling with declining PC sales and we all know why. Hint: Start menu coming preinstalled on Lenovo.

I don't think Lenovos dominance is related to having a start menu preinstalled. They were large before Win8 was released. Their size probably comes largely from the Chinese market. They're cheap, a lot of our work computers across in China are Lenovo. I've seen a lot of people with Lenovo phones too, again cheap, but they target this market of middle class in Asia and the price point seems about right.

Global decline in PC sales is probably due to a trend away from desktop PCs in homes, towards laptops, and now trending towards tablets.

I don't think the lack of a traditional Win start menu is something thats stopping the general public from buying.

Dot Matrix said,
If I was Microsoft, I'd be all over Lenovo like a bag of bricks...

Yes if you were Microsoft, there are a lot of things you would do, none of which would be good for anyone, except maybe yourself.

Order_66 said,
If anything Microsoft should be thanking them.

Strange how an OEM can see whats needed to make PC's sell, but Microsoft can't.

dvb2000 said,

Strange how an OEM can see whats needed to make PC's sell, but Microsoft can't.


Microsoft don't sell PCs, they sell Windows licenses. Those who make engines just focus on making a good engine and not how to sell the car.

OEMs don't see whats needed in the majority of the cases. Your average OEM image is to blame for most bad Windows experiences over the years (ME anyone?)

On that note Dot is right, its MS whose product is damaged, not the OEMs. You shouldn't install such fundamental 'mods' to the base UI, by default, ever.