SweetLabs unveiled its new App Install Platform for device manufacturers today, which will help provide an opportunity for OEMs to promote software to their users without resorting to pre-installing it on their device.
It’s an attempt by the company, which has an engineering office in Seattle, to get manufacturers to ditch the “crapware” that they usually pre-install onto devices in an attempt to boost the amount of money they can make from a tight-margin product. SweetLabs came up with the idea for the App Install Platform when they were working with OEMs that chose to pre-install Pokki, the company’s app store and recommendation engine for Windows.
“They’re relying on the same model that they have been relying on since the 90s, this preload model. And not just on PCs, but on phones and tablets,” SweetLabs co-founder Chester Ng told GeekWire in an interview.
He argues that the model of loading a set of apps onto a new device isn’t serving anyone well. Consumers hate it, developers aren’t getting much value from it, and OEMs aren’t giving people what they really want. That’s where SweetLabs’s new platform is designed to come in.
The App Install platform has two key components: a cloud-based control panel for manufacturers, and client-side software that will run on a user’s device. Manufacturers can use the control panel to target what apps are available to users through a variety of “touchpoints,” which can include a screen that shows up after users finish the setup of their device and a widget that provides users with recommendations on their phone’s home screen.
Companies that still want to ensure that their device has preloaded software can use the platform’s Dynamic Preload feature, which will download apps in the background while a user is setting their device up. Manufacturers who use SweetLabs’s platform in that instance can change what apps get dynamically preloaded at any time using SweetLabs’s online management console, rather than being stuck with what they loaded on a device at the factory.
The platform is powered by SweetLabs’s recommendation engine, which will learn a user’s preferences, and help suggest apps that it thinks they would like. If a manufacturer has a list of 16 apps they want to advertise in a space that can only show 4 apps at a time, the platform will choose the apps that it thinks are most relevant, and only show those.
In addition, SweetLabs’s platform provides OEMs with analytics about where their devices are being activated and what apps users have installed. Will help manufacturers make decisions about what apps to push. The information provided from those analytics should help manufacturers ditch apps that people hate, and surface apps that people want to use, which is a win-win for everyone involved. Users who would prefer to not have their activity used by the analytics service will be able to opt out of tracking.
Ultimately, the goal of this new platform is to do away with crapware as we know it. If SweetLabs has its way, users will be getting useful apps on their device out of the box, rather than wading through a swamp full of apps they never wanted in the first place.