OnLive's virtual Windows 7 interface and Office application for the iPad has arrived after anticipated delays to the iTunes App Store.
OnLive Desktop offers iPad users access to fully-functional versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint through cloud computing. The user must download a small application, and after signing up for an OnLive account are able to access a full Windows 7 interface on their iPad.
The applications runs through OnLive's servers and is streamed to your device, so performances levels can be affected by factors such as Internet speed and server proximity.
The current free version available to iPad users gives you a timeslot to play with the company's servers -- it is a basic skeleton service limited by server constraints and capacity. As a free option, it allows users to try out the software and if they find it useful, move on to a subscription later. Although the app has been launched, subscription options are not yet ready.
You do, however, receive a useful 2GB of cloud storage which acts as a Windows Document's folder that OnLive will automatically save your work to.
Existing customers can sign in with their current accounts, and new users have a free account option available, subject to server capacity. To begin using the Microsoft software within the cloud, you will need both an OnLive account and the application -- available as a free 4.8MB download.
A number of paid options and subscriptions are in development:
OnLive Desktop Pro, starting at $9.99 per month.
- Priority access to your OnLive Desktop, preloaded with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- 50 GB of secure cloud storage, appearing as your Documents folder on your OnLive Desktop.
- Cloud-accelerated Web browsing.
- Ability to add other PC applications.
OnLive Enterprise, priced on request.
- IT-managed OnLive Desktops for businesses and organizations.
- Full control of entitlements on a per-user basis.
- Supports iPad, Android, PC, Mac, monitors/TVs with MicroConsole thin client.
- Available for custom integration by independent software vendors, consultants.
OnLive is also currently developing a collaborative service for Desktop Pro and Enterprise users, that allows sharing with voice chat functionality and small group creation, that thousands of simultaneous users can join.
By making Microsoft Office portable through cloud computing, as well as including an enticing amount of free cloud storage, the technology giant's app is likely to appeal to next generation users as well as businesses and working professionals.
Being able to use a streamlined Windows 7 interface on a mobile device is something I can see students wanting to utilize throughout their studies -- removing the necessity to keep their laptops with them and giving them Office functionality on the go. In a world of Google Apps and Dropbox, this may be the push Microsoft needs to keep the Generation Y interested in their services.
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