We’re all familiar with applications that show off websites as native Windows applications, such as Prism and Google Chrome’s “Application Shortcuts”. However, these apps really don’t have much of an advantage over just using a web browser. There isn’t a whole lot more you can do with them and the sites look the same in the desktop window as they do in a browser tab.
This is where Pokki comes in. It’s a brand new application, currently in beta, that aims to bridge the gap between websites and desktop applications by creating site-specific desktop applications.
Pokki is a program that integrates web applications into your desktop. Instead of simply embedding web pages into an application window, Pokki “apps” are developed from the ground-up to bring you a perfect desktop experience.
So far, there are applications for Twitter, Facebook, Grooveshark, gMail, and many more popular services. The apps are beautifully designed and fit well into the desktop system.
But enough about what’s available for Pokki. What does it actually do? And why is it beneficial?
The Basics of Pokki
The basic concept of the application is to add a small bar of icons to your taskbar. Instead of launching entire applications, these icons will launch Pokkis, little popup windows that can tell you anything from the weather to your latest e-mail to the latest Cyanide & Happiness comic.
Each application shows up as a small popup, and this serves as a “desktop client” for many popular applications such as FaceBook and Twitter. The Twitter Pokki alone almost serves as a full-featured alternative to larger clients such as Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop.
The Pokki gives you access to the current trends, your twitter feed, any tweets mentioning you, any direct messages, a search function, and a dedicated view to see user profiles. What’s even greater is the ability to log into multiple accounts at once. The gMail Pokki also allows you to be logged onto multiple accounts at once.
So, it’s looking pretty great so far. How do you get started? Head over to the official Pokki website and download the application store (or alternatively download one of the featured apps that you want to use.
The installation process is very quick and you can be up and running in under two minutes. Click on the little acorn and a full list of new, featured, and all available apps will be shown. From there, installing any application is a one click process.
From there on, it’s a simple and intuitive process. You install the applications you want and icons will show up. With the Pokki Challenge recently finishing, a host of new apps have been added. With their new 1UP developer challenge, a lot of games and fun things are being added to Pokki, and you can expect it to continue to grow as it moves out of the beta stage.
Already, amazing social games made by Kabam are available on the Pokki platform – games like Dragons of Atlantis, Edgeworld, The Godfather: Five Families and Thirst of Night.
This isn’t the first attempt to bridge the web and desktops, but I’d have to say that it seems like it has the brightest future. Well designed, rigorously moderated applications, and an overall good appearance give Pokki an edge on its competition. They also have secure funding, as you can see from their hefty prizes (first place for their Pokki HTML5 challenge recieved $30,000 in prize money). Certain apps are so perfectly functional that they can basically replace the website.
Despite being only a beta product, Pokki is relatively flawless and there are very few noticeable bugs.
One of the most important bugs is the lack of a exit button. At the moment, the developers (seriously) haven’t yet made a way to easily close the program. Even ending the task through the Task Manager will only make it go away for a few seconds before it comes back.
While personally this isn’t a big problem and I don’t ever see a need to close Pokki, it could be a problem for people who find the software doesn’t work well with other programs installed on their machines.
Another problem is the lack of customization. While the menu is out-of-the-way and well designed, customization menu colours could help personalize the application and make it more appealing. Furthermore, the only option for Pokki right now is to have it display right beside the start button, a limitation which I see as a severe impediment.
I personally would rather have my Pokki applications to be better distinguished from my regular Windows applications, perhaps have them on the right side of the task bar, or in their own little task bar on the sides or top of the screen. However, it is important to note that this product is only in beta, and these issues will definitely be addressed in future releases.
All in all, Pokki is definitely an application to watch and follow as it progresses out of its beta stages. With a defined and working business model, a functional and useful application, and a scalable platform that can suit millions of users with differing needs, Pokki might very soon become a very popular and mainstream application.
If there’s anything I missed in this review, or if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, don’t hesitate to comment below in the comments section and get a discussion flowing! If you have been using Pokki, tell us what you think about it. Thank you so much for reading!