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Lenovo Win 8 systems to bundle Start Menu replacement

Lenovo Win 8 systems to bundle Start Menu replacement

SweetLabs' Pokki is to be bundled with Lenovo's Windows 8 systems, as the company posts a vote of no confidence in Microsoft's Modern UI.

Lenovo has announced that it has partnered with a software distributor to bundle a third-party Start Menu replacement with its Windows 8 computers - the first major manufacturer to cast such a vote of no-confidence on the operating system's touch-centric Modern UI.

Based on technology originally developed for smartphones as the Metro UI, Modern UI brings massive changes to the Windows platform. A shift away from the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointer) paradigm that gave birth to the original version of the operating system, Modern UI is clearly built for touch - a move that brought Microsoft in for considerable criticism about the platform's usability on traditional computing devices.

While Windows 8.1, a free update due for release later this year, goes some way to address these concerns, it is still likely to come as a shock to less technologically literate users upgrading from a previous Windows release. In particular, the absence of a Start Menu - even if the Start Button is brought back in the pending update - means relearning how to use the operating system in the largest shift in usability since the Start Menu was first introduced in Windows NT.

While it would be facetious to blame the ongoing slowdown in traditional PC sales purely on Windows 8, the fact is that it is one of the few factors that can be easily addressed - and Lenovo is doing exactly that. The company, which is enjoying considerable success with its mobile and tablet families even as sales of its laptops and desktops decline, has entered into a partnership with SweetLabs to pre-install a Start Menu replacement on all new Windows 8 machines.

Dubbed Pokki, the software isn't a direct copy of the Start Menu of old - but it certainly shares some similarities. Clicking on the Pokki icon at the bottom-left of the screen pops up a familiar-looking menu, offering access to frequently-used applications, categorised lists, system control and free-text searching - all without having to leave the familiar Desktop environment for the scary new Start Screen.

'Our collaboration with SweetLabs strikes the perfect balance between providing our customers great apps and growing Lenovo's business around app distribution,' claimed Peter Gaucher, executive director of software and content services at Lenovo. 'The Pokki software suite complements the Windows experience, and we're excited to work with SweetLabs to open up new distribution opportunities for app developers across our devices worldwide.'

Gaucher's comments reveal a second string to Pokki's bow: the software is designed to not only provide a Windows 7-like Start Menu for access to a user's existing software, but to automatically recommend other applications for download both from the Windows Store and from SweetLabs' own distribution network. Whether this will degenerate into yet more pre-installed bloatware, recommending apps nobody in their right mind would want to install, remains to be seen.

More details on Pokki, which is also available for Windows 7 and prior, are available on the official website.

37 Comments

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Nexxo 23rd August 2013, 11:28 Quote
Or: company gives customers what it thinks they want. More bloatware! Yay!
barny2767 23rd August 2013, 11:33 Quote
I just got a Lenovo laptop with win 8 and there's not to much bloatware but It will get a clean install when I get an SSD in it.
Baguette 23rd August 2013, 11:36 Quote
lol, you can see this as bloatware, or as the first piece of extra that's useful :P I say well played Lenovo. I think it makes sense they are the ones doing this first as most of their laptops aren't touch oriented (and I don't think the thinkpads need it).

Now they just need to fix the damn durability issues of some of their line and they'll have my money for the next upgrade :D
flibblesan 23rd August 2013, 11:50 Quote
Pokki is a pretty decent start menu app. I use it myself on Windows 8 and I use Metro apps as well. Better to have apps in a start menu rather than tons of icons cluttering up the start page or having to manually search :(
Corky42 23rd August 2013, 11:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Or: company gives customers what it thinks they want. More bloatware! Yay!

Conservative numbers put Start Menu replacement software at 10% to %20 of total Windows 8 users, a more speculative assessment could double that. For a feature that Microsoft claimed no one uses that's a lot of people.
runadumb 23rd August 2013, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Or: company gives customers what it thinks they want. More bloatware! Yay!

Conservative numbers put Start Menu replacement software at 10% to %20 of total Windows 8 users, a more speculative assessment could double that. For a feature that Microsoft claimed no one uses that's a lot of people.

Where are you getting these numbers? 10% variation is a large margin of error.
Nexxo 23rd August 2013, 12:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Conservative numbers put Start Menu replacement software at 10% to %20 of total Windows 8 users, a more speculative assessment could double that. For a feature that Microsoft claimed no one uses that's a lot of people.

RocketDock and ObjectDock (an OSX-alike dock) have been hugely popular since 2007. Does that mean Windows 7 Start Menu was a bit useless? :p

People want choice; they've got it. Good times.
Corky42 23rd August 2013, 12:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by runadumb
Where are you getting these numbers? 10% variation is a large margin of error.

Well its kind of difficult to be more exact, as Microsoft don't release numbers of how many people are using Windows 8, some people put it at 60mil, some at 100mil+

So i was going on very rough ball park figures claiming Two Windows 8 Start menu apps bring in 8 million total downloads and other numbers claiming 20 million Windows users who have downloaded Pokki. As well as statistics of Classic Shell downloads

Then take into account there are 20 odd Start Menu replacement programs available, and i think its easy to see why i had to guesstimate these numbers and there is so much variance.
stuartwood89 23rd August 2013, 12:39 Quote
I don't see the need to include bloatware just for the idiots that don't know how to use the Start Screen. It's a bad move because it has the potential to split the Windows userbase out into fans of different interfaces, so we end up with another GNOME/KDE/XFCE/etc-like situation, which in turn makes it a pain for those supporting the desktops to do their jobs.

I don't know, it just seems like a step backwards to me, and if Lenovo don't like the Start Screen (or are just catering to those who don't), then they should just stick with deploying Windows 7.
SpAceman 23rd August 2013, 12:52 Quote
While I think this is stupid I can see why they are doing it.

Lenovo is hugely popular in the business sector. Businesses don't like using Windows 8 as it is new and requires training for the useless people that can't figure out Windows 8 on their own. Lenovo would prefer to use Windows 8 as much as possible so they come up with a solution to make businesses happier.
GoodBytes 23rd August 2013, 13:24 Quote
Ars Technica reports that it will bug you to purchase apps from it's own app store for it.
http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/08/start-menu-on-lenovo-windows-8-pcs-will-nag-you-to-install-apps/

So it's not about not believing in the Start Screen, it's a just a quick cash in.
I guess they hope that you buy a bunch of apps from them, and then you are "locked" to Lenovo systems.\, because you'll lose them if you switch manufcature.
fdbh96 23rd August 2013, 13:52 Quote
I don't really see why there's so much fuss about the start screen. Its different yes, but if you know what you're doing its much faster. I was on a windows 7 machine the other day and didn't the whole start menu once, just the search functionality and it was way quicker than how I used to work in win 7.
r3loaded 23rd August 2013, 14:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96
I don't really see why there's so much fuss about the start screen. Its different yes, but if you know what you're doing its much faster. I was on a windows 7 machine the other day and didn't the whole start menu once, just the search functionality and it was way quicker than how I used to work in win 7.
You're wasting your time, people won't let facts get in the way of their resistance to change.
Corky42 23rd August 2013, 14:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r3loaded
You're wasting your time, people won't let facts get in the way of their resistance to change.

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
Silver51 23rd August 2013, 14:38 Quote
No resistance to change; fact is people are different.

I prefer the Win 7 UI. It's faster for the tasks I need to accomplish. Win 8 tries desperately to hide or make difficult to access all the bits I'm looking for.

Actually, a full Start Menu with all the options nested in a single location would have helped when we were trying to integrate hybrid machines on our work system. However, it quickly became an exercise in frustration. The final straw was when parts of the MIS failed to talk to the server. We purged 8 from the machines, installed 7 and everything was fine.
loftie 23rd August 2013, 15:24 Quote
God I wish PC manufacturers would forget the crapware.
Nexxo 23rd August 2013, 15:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
I reject your reality and substitute my own!

http://www.bodylovewellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/well-thats-just-like-your-opinion-man-gif-the-dude-lebowski.gif

:p
SlowMotionSuicide 23rd August 2013, 19:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r3loaded

You're wasting your time, people won't let facts get in the way of their resistance to change.

You know, "if it's not broken, don't fix it"?
Nexxo 23rd August 2013, 20:02 Quote
It was broken.
jb0 24th August 2013, 13:01 Quote
Start menu, start screen, whatever. It's all crap next to the glorious light of Program Manager.
(In the interests of full disclosure, I did use Dashboard for a time on my Win 3.1 machine. I no longer remember if it was better or worse, but it was definitely SEXIER than ProgMan.)
deathtaker27 25th August 2013, 17:44 Quote
haven't read all of the above but what happens if 8.1 breaks this start menu or between this addon and windows 8.1 renders the system in an un-usable state?
GoodBytes 25th August 2013, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by deathtaker27
haven't read all of the above but what happens if 8.1 breaks this start menu or between this addon and windows 8.1 renders the system in an un-usable state?

huh?
It's just a program, like any other... it's just say to transparent border (which is a an option in when a program tells to create a window, in Windows (API call)), and set it's position at the bottom left corner of the screen. (They are API calls to get the area available minus the space taken by the task bar, so you can deduce the location of the task bar, and position the window accordingly). Then finally, it adds a program to the task bar, much like Media Player that can pinned on the task bar back in XP, or the Zune software, or like some OEMs does. Lenovo is big at adding crap there. However, this program does nothing more than start the Start Menu program.

So really, there is nothing that can break. Same for all Start Menu replacement, unless it does hacks to get it back, instead of actually making it's own program.
Nicodemus_MM 25th August 2013, 23:44 Quote
It's pretty apparent which people think computers are only used in homes for personal use. You know, the people that never consider that a major interface change can have huge consequences in a business environment. For the "I don't see what the big deal is" and "resistance to change" crowd, try this....

Imagine you're over a company's IT infrastructure. Now imagine that your _smallest_ facility has over 600 employees. Many of those people (barely) know just enough about computers to do their job and only then due to extensive training. Change, whether you like it or not, disrupts these peoples' day and the company's productivity. Major change, like a UI they've never seen before), is a show-stopper... the kind that costs you your job.

So... when you're the person who's neck is on the line for switching 79k+ machines to an OS that's going to require retraining of roughly twice that many people, then we can talk about what the "big deal" is, and your ill-perceived "facts" and "resistance to change". Until your "facts" include consideration of IT/IS and training departments larger than your personal desk, and your decisions are based on someone else's bottom-line... they're not facts at all. They're pure conjecture based on assumptions that are based on a lack of scope and experience that you can't understand.
Nexxo 25th August 2013, 23:50 Quote
Given that most office workers I know don't even use the Start Menu (they go by desktop shortcuts or clicking on emailed files to launch the associated program), I can't see the only change that Windows 8 introduces for them --a Start Screen rather than Start Menu-- causing them big problems. In fact, for those people a Start Screen would be immensely easier. A few BIG icons to launch their Office programs. They don't have to dig through directories and cascading menus. Just hit the Windows Key and click.
GoodBytes 25th August 2013, 23:52 Quote
Nexxo, no longer mod.. what happened?!
GoodBytes 25th August 2013, 23:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus_MM
It's pretty apparent which people think computers are only used in homes for personal use. You know, the people that never consider that a major interface change can have huge consequences in a business environment. For the "I don't see what the big deal is" and "resistance to change" crowd, try this....

Imagine you're over a company's IT infrastructure. Now imagine that your _smallest_ facility has over 600 employees. Many of those people (barely) know just enough about computers to do their job and only then due to extensive training. Change, whether you like it or not, disrupts these peoples' day and the company's productivity. Major change, like a UI they've never seen before), is a show-stopper... the kind that costs you your job.

So... when you're the person who's neck is on the line for switching 79k+ machines to an OS that's going to require retraining of roughly twice that many people, then we can talk about what the "big deal" is, and your ill-perceived "facts" and "resistance to change". Until your "facts" include consideration of IT/IS and training departments larger than your personal desk, and your decisions are based on someone else's bottom-line... they're not facts at all. They're pure conjecture based on assumptions that are based on a lack of scope and experience that you can't understand.

Same thing was said with Office 2007.. look, no problem!
Stop thinking that the average user are complete retards.
Nexxo 26th August 2013, 00:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Nexxo, no longer mod.. what happened?!

I gave it up. Work commitments are just crazy at the moment, and to be honest I've had enough of trying to manage a bunch of people who act like squabbling children and then complain that mods can't be everywhere 24/7 to moderate things to their exact satisfaction while being too lazy to simply click a button to report whatever post they took umbrage to, and too irresponsible to employ a bit of self-control in managing their conflicts.

I've reached my tolerance limit, and just need to take a step back for a while. It's either that or just banning a lot of people.
GoodBytes 26th August 2013, 02:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
I gave it up. Work commitments are just crazy at the moment, and to be honest I've had enough of trying to manage a bunch of people who act like squabbling children and then complain that mods can't be everywhere 24/7 to moderate things to their exact satisfaction while being too lazy to simply click a button to report whatever post they took umbrage to, and too irresponsible to employ a bit of self-control in managing their conflicts.

I've reached my tolerance limit, and just need to take a step back for a while. It's either that or
HAHA! Ok
Quote:
just banning a lot of people.
I am all for it :p
Xir 26th August 2013, 10:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpAceman
Businesses don't like using Windows 8 as it is new and requires training for the useless people that can't figure out Windows 8 on their own.
Businesses will simply require Win7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus_MM
Change, whether you like it or not, disrupts these peoples' day and the company's productivity.
Very true ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Same thing was said with Office 2007.. look, no problem!
Stop thinking that the average user are complete retards.
Well, I can tell you what happened when my company switched to Win7. A half a day training for every employee and two YEARS of support to get everything running again.
And that's just win7 that wasn't a big difference.

Office 2010? Two days of training per employee and people that are miffed for weeks cause they can't find the "print" button.
The only good office 2010 brings that we actually use is more rows in excel, woohoo.

These changes cost A LOT of time and money.

Really think they're going for Win8 now that they've just finished the transition to 7?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
I've reached my tolerance limit, and just need to take a step back for a while. It's either that or just banning a lot of people.
:D
You mean the mighty Banhammer has been deserted?
Nexxo 26th August 2013, 11:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
You mean the mighty Banhammer has been deserted?

Not so much that as I had to drag myself away from the Big Red Button before I press it.

Frankly I'd fire people whose job it is to work with computers on a daily basis but can't find the print button within 30 minutes of working with a new version of Office. They should be able to work those things out by now. It is pure laziness and fecklessness --like being a cab driver who does not know how to change a tire, fill up a tank or top up the windshield washer fluid.
Nicodemus_MM 26th August 2013, 23:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes

Same thing was said with Office 2007.. look, no problem!
Stop thinking that the average user are complete retards.

No one mentioned anything about being "retards", but failing to acknowledge that such changes to a work environment are disruptive and costly is short-sighted and reeks of inexperience. Would I prefer to trust my user base to be able to handle such changes? Sure. Am I willing to risk my job on it? Not a chance. Neither are the people who sign my paycheck and/or authorize such changes.

Bottom line... until such changes provide sufficient benefit to outweigh the financial and temporal burdens they impart, they will be sidestepped, avoided, and otherwise regarded as a bad business decision.
GoodBytes 27th August 2013, 00:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus_MM
No one mentioned anything about being "retards", but failing to acknowledge that such changes to a work environment are disruptive and costly is short-sighted and reeks of inexperience. Would I prefer to trust my user base to be able to handle such changes? Sure. Am I willing to risk my job on it? Not a chance. Neither are the people who sign my paycheck and/or authorize such changes.

Bottom line... until such changes provide sufficient benefit to outweigh the financial and temporal burdens they impart, they will be sidestepped, avoided, and otherwise regarded as a bad business decision.

Doesn't mater. Companies follow a 6 year upgrade cycle. Way before anyone know anything about Windows 8, Windows 7 was young. I did say it will be a good opportunity for Microsoft, and will probably will, do something very risky. And in fact they did mention it, and we have it.
Nicodemus_MM 27th August 2013, 00:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Doesn't mater. Companies follow a 6 year upgrade cycle. .

Right... that's why it was so easy for MS to persuade companies to move away from XP. Oh, wait...
GoodBytes 27th August 2013, 01:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus_MM
Right... that's why it was so easy for MS to persuade companies to move away from XP. Oh, wait...

3-4 years in XP, companies upgraded to XP. Vista was a skip no mater what.
Alecto 27th August 2013, 12:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus_MM
Right... that's why it was so easy for MS to persuade companies to move away from XP. Oh, wait...

3-4 years in XP, companies upgraded to XP. Vista was a skip no mater what.

Huh ? Many companies STILL run XP (and will continue to do so at least until April 2014) because they have no need to change (or better put, t6hey prefer not to change in order not to break things). Once they finally migrate to Win7 in a year they will stick with it until who knows when ... 2020 ?

IT in business environment isn't about most computer savvy users. It's not even about your average users, it's about vast majority (bottom 95% to 99%). A company simply cannot sack 50% of its work force because they are below company's average as far as their computer skills are concerned. Changes for the sake of changes or not only unneeded, they are counter-productive (well except to M$, they get to sell yet another version of something that nobody asked for with each change).
Nicodemus_MM 28th August 2013, 04:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus_MM
Right... that's why it was so easy for MS to persuade companies to move away from XP. Oh, wait...

3-4 years in XP, companies upgraded to XP. Vista was a skip no mater what.

This shows how little exposure you have to IT. One of Microsoft's greatest challenges over the past few years has been getting companies from XP. It wasn't until 2011 (10 years after XP's release) that Win7 had more installs than XP and XP is still a significant install base.

3-4 years? Vista wasn't even released until late 2006/early 2007. Basic math helps... even when speaking of things about which you have no clue.
GoodBytes 28th August 2013, 05:23 Quote
Companies didn't upgrade to XP on day 1. In fact, they took FOREVER to upgrade to XP.
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