Mobile applications are most often slick containers of web content, packaged in such a way that they’re more lovely to look at and fun to use than the browser. San Diego-based startup SweetLabs looks to bring these rich mobile app experiences to the desktop with the release of Pokki on Tuesday.
Pokkiis an application store and platform for the desktop, inspired by mobile with Apple-esque design appeal. Pokki is PC-only at launch, but a Mac release is slated for later this year.
“What we saw as developers and users were these fantastic app experiences on mobile and tablets that make it easy for consumers to discover and install apps in one-click, and easy for developers to distribute their apps,” SweetLabs co-founder Chester Ng says. “But, ironically billions of consumers spend a majority of their waking hours on the desktop, and the desktop experience is prehistoric.”
The PC user need only install Pokki once to have access to “Pokkis,” the service’s web connected desktop applications, via the Pokki store. The Pokki store sits conveniently alongside installed Pokkis in the menu bar, where users are presented with a simple always-connected, yet browser-free way to interface with web content.
SweetLabs has seeded the Pokki store with eight rich and elegant applications including Pokkis for Gmail, Facebook, eBay, LivingSocial andThe Wall Street Journal. The applications pop with color and personality, and offer users real-time notifications for new activity.
The Pokki store is noticeably sparse to start, but today’s release is specifically targeted at developers. SweetLabs hopes the applications that it has created — most developed in-house with some assistance from the third-party app makers — will inspire developers, media companies and startups to build and release their own Pokkis.
SweetLabs’ desktop app platform undertaking is rather ambitious. “It’s a huge challenge,” Ng says. “There’s a huge land grab going on between Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, but we believe that the world needs an agnostic app platform … and we’re in a good position to take a swing at it.”
SweetLabsis the newly rebranded parent company of OpenCandy and Pokki. The 3-year-old startup has grown to more than 50 employees and will be opening a satellite office in San Francisco.