With Debut of Pokki Desktop Apps, OpenCandy Founders Create New Corporate Identity

San Diego’s OpenCandy has a new name today—SweetLabs. The change coincides with the beta launch of Pokki, a new platform the company has developed to provide desktop users with an “always on” experience more commonly found among apps for smartphones.

“We’re spoiled by having all these incredible apps on our mobile devices,” says Chester Ng, a SweetLabs co-founder and director of business development and sales. He says the desktop experience nowadays “seems prehistoric” (stone knives! Microsoft Office!) and “Pokki is all about bringing the app experience to the desktop.”

While SweetLabs is showcasing eight apps, including Google mail, eBay, Facebook, LivingSocial, The Wall Street Journal, and other popular Web-based services, the company’s primary focus appears to be making its Pokki software developers kit widely available to third-party software developers. The company says web developers using standard web languages such as HTML5, CSS, and Javascript can use the SDK to create new apps. The platform includes a built-in distribution channel through a “Pokki store,” which opens in a desktop window (see below).

The corporate name change came about partly because the Pokki application platform represents a new product category from OpenCandy, a Web-based network that provides a site for downloading open source software—and recommends related software that the user might want. The system and corporate namesake allows a software publisher to advertise its product, and offer it as an optional download.

“When we started three years ago, we really wanted to start a company that could solve business problems for software developers in the applications space, things like distribution, monetization, and analytics,” Ng says. After 350 million software installs, the OpenCandy business continues to go well, and Ng says it made sense for the product to retain the OpenCandy brand and to re-brand the company.

Chester Ng

An interesting footnote in the change to SweetLabs is that OpenCandy co-founders Ng and Darrius Thompson were previously at San Diego’s DivX (now operated as part of Novato, CA-based Sonic Solutions), where the company, its core software product, and video codec all shared the same name.

“We did consider a brand architecture similar to what we had established at DivX,” Ng says. However, the driving factor in establishing the new corporate name, SweetLabs, was to broaden the scope of the company brand given the launch of Pokki.

“OpenCandy is a B2B brand representing solutions for software developers to make money and reach new users,” Ng says. “In fact, we may roll out additional products (beyond our software network) in the future under that OpenCandy brand umbrella that achieve the same objectives. Pokki, on the other hand, is both a B2B and B2C brand representing our mission to bring the modern one-click, always-on app experience to billions of desktops worldwide.”

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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