Web apps and cloud based computing is here to stay, more and more applications are moving off the desktop and into the browser, and it will continue.
A problem with this evolution is of course that applications will become more difficult to reach than just having a simple icon sitting there on your desktop. Also web apps seldom leverage the whole computing power available in a desktop computer. A US based company named SweetLabs believes that they have the solution to all these problems, Pokki.
Pokki is basically an app store for Windows 7, with various applications and games available. The number of apps and games available is basic but still should cover most user needs. It is possible to install a Twitter client named Tweeki, Facebook and Gmail. There is also a neat music application, Grooveshark. Various games are also included, most of them pretty advanced.
The Pokki apps looks and behaves good in Windows 7, they load fast and often look better than some desktop counterparts. Developers can download an SDK, in which it is possible to develop part of the apps in CSS3 and HTML 5, which in itself is pretty amazing.
Pokki itself sits in the taskbar (it is possible to remove it) and is pretty unobtrusive, especially compared to similar solutions I have tried. A downside with Pokki is the lack of support for other Windows versions and operating systems, when this is written it only supports Windows 7.
The whole idea of an app store alternative for Windows 7 is good, but the question is how long it will live. Microsoft will without a doubt release an app store when Windows 8 is rolled out later during 2012, which may render Pokki useless.
Also Pokki serves no real purpose on other operating systems, Mac OS already have its own app store and Linux have had it for years. However they are not tied specifically to web apps and often have specifically developed apps for Gmail, Twitter etc. The real selling point with Pokki is being light-weight and providing a platform which is easy for developers to grasp and use. It will be crucial for SweetLabs to engage developers in order for Pokki to survive after the Windows 8 app store is launched.
In the meantime Pokki is a nice addition to Windows 7, and does make it easier to quickly access different web-based apps.