Sometimes a full remote desktop solution is overkill, especially if you just need quick acces to Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint. CloudOn is just the ticket, as it offers access to those apps for editing or creating documents. It is fully touch optimized and the price is right.
LogMeIn is the remote desktop solution for the iPad that supports accessing Windows, Macs, or Linux computers from the iPad. The remote OS must be installed on a remote computer that the iPad owner has access to.
The iPad app is fully touch optimized and makes remote control over the PC/Mac a joy.
Free, with Pro version available adding video/audio streaming to the iPad
OnLive Desktop brings a remote Windows desktop to the iPad, without the requirement of a remote system. It uses a remote desktop provided by OnLive that includes full versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
Free, with a Plus option that provides priority access and adds Internet Explorer web browsing.
Mac users have long used Parallels Desktop to run various OSes in virtual machines on their Macs. Parallels Mobile lets those with virtual machines set up run them from the iPad. The operation is as smooth as butter and opens up the iPad to a nuber of OSes that can be accessed from the tablet.
$4.99, requires Parallels Desktop on a Mac for access
Splashtop HD is a complete remote desktop program for the iPad. It allows remote control of Windows PCs and Macs from the iPad, with a touch interface. It turns any Mac or PC into a full touch system on the iPad. Audio/video streaming works particularly well in Splashtop.
$4.99, requires a Mac or PC with Splashtop Streamer (free)
Developers working on Metro apps for Windows 8 have a good way to test the apps in a touch environment with Win8 Metro Testbed on the iPad. This new app is designed specifically for testing the Metro apps using the iPad, with the lack of Windows 8 tablets otherwise making that task difficult. It is developed by the Splashtop folks.
$24.99 (half price for a limited time, normally $49.99)
The nivio service is in beta at the time of this writing, and it provides access to a Windows desktop without the need for a system to access. It is similar to the OnLive Desktop app, with the additon of allowing the user to install third party Windows apps to the remote desktop. Once the nivio service goes live, users will rent apps they install to the remote desktop on a monthly pay-as-you-go basis.
Currently free during the beta