LAS VEGAS — Pokki, an app store pre-installed on Windows 8 machines from major PC makers, will now adjust in real time depending on how a computer or device is being used at any moment — featuring games, for example, when a tablet is flat on a desktop, or productivity apps when in notebook mode.
SweetLabs, the Intel Capital and Google Ventures-backed company that makes Pokki, also announced this morning that the app store is expanding to Android devices for the first time.
The San Diego-based company, which has an engineering office in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, made headlines last year for offering a Start Menu on Windows 8 desktops — not only providing access to the Pokki app store but also restoring elements of the traditional Start Menu functionality that Microsoft removed from the operating system.
Pokki’s new multi-mode support is designed for the new wave of devices that can shift quickly among tablet, notebook and media-viewing modes, such as the new Miix 2 hybrid notebook/tablets unveiled by Lenovo here this week. The new Pokki feature relies in part on sensor data from the device.
The expansion into Android devices — providing an alternative front-end for the Google Play store — promises to further expand the reach of Pokki and the apps it features.
“It really brings it back to our original mission, which is to help with app distribution,” said Chester Ng, the SweetLabs co-founder, in an interview at CES in Las Vegas. “That’s what our company is about. We’re not a Start Menu company, we’re not just a web app company. We’re all about app distribution — how can we solve app distribution problems for OEMs, and ultimately help users with discovery.”
Pokki makes money by charging app developers and publishers for promotion in the store. It shares a cut of that revenue with PC makers.
One benefit is to help reduce PC makers’ dependence on revenue from pre-installed apps — “crapware,” as they’re known — moving toward a model where users can instead select apps and PC makers can still supplement their revenue through app distribution.
Pokki is preinstalled on devices from companies including Lenovo and Acer, and available for download here.