Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lenovo becomes the first OEM to pre-load a Windows 8 Start Menu replacement

Although Windows 8.1 will return the Start Button to Microsoft's platform, it won't bring back the Start Menu, itself, and with that, Lenovo has decided enough is enough. As reported by ZDNet on Thursday, SweetLabs and Lenovo announced a partnership on Thursday, one that will preload SweetLabs' Pokki Start Button / Start Menu app on Lenovo PCs, while at the same time sidestepping Microsoft's Windows app store.

SweetLabs is one just one of many developers who have attempted to leverage the missing Start Button / Start Menu with their own app. However, not only does Pokki provide end users with a Start Button / Start Menu type of experience, it adds its own app store and game arcade, too.

As part of the Lenovo agreement, SweetLabs said that it will expand its app store offerings beyond Web apps to include traditional desktop programs and Windows 8 Modern UI Metro-style apps.

Chester Ng, the co-founder of SweetLabs, said the company has already seen "tens of millions" of downloads of its Pokki products on Windows 8, even without Lenovo's backing. He added that the Pokki app store offers OEMs an alternative to what is typically done on new PCs: installing trialware applications which many users uninstall almost immediately.

These applications are frequently dubbed "crapware."

While millions of Windows 8 users may have adopted some sort of Start Button / Start Menu replacement, Lenovo is the first OEM to adopt it on its own. This news is of particular import since Lenovo recently became the no. 1 PC vendor in the world.

This move might force other companies such as HP and Asus to find third-party Start Button / Start Menu apps of their own to pre-load onto their computers. It might even (heaven forbid) give Microsoft the push it needs to add the functionality into Windows 8.

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