OnLive Desktop brings Windows 7 to the iPad

January 10, 2012 // 10:14 a.m.

Tags: #android #cloud-computing #ios #ipad #microsoft-office #onlive #onlive-desktop #streaming #tablet #windows-7

Cloud gaming specialist OnLive has announced plans to branch out, using its clever streaming technology to allow iPad owners to access full-fat Windows 7 desktop applications.

Using the same technology developed for its gaming business, where remote servers do the heavy lifting of rendering game assets with the resultant video being streamed to lightweight client devices like tablets and OnLive's own MicroConsole, the company hopes to make Apple's already popular iPad line a more realistic option for business use.

'OnLive Desktop is the first app to deliver a no-compromise, media-rich Windows desktop experience to iPad, opening up powerful new possibilities for consumers and businesses,' OnLive's founder and chief executive Steve Perlman crowed at the launch. 'iPad users will now be able to simply and securely view and edit cloud-hosted documents with full-featured Windows desktop applications like Microsoft Office, just as if they were using a local high-performance PC. Multi-touch gestures respond instantly and smoothly, while HD videos, animations and PC video games-never before usable on a remote desktop-play seamlessly.'

The surprising part of Perlman's announcement, however, is the pricing: basic access will be free to all users, with 2GB of web-based storage and access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and 'several utilities and touch games' included as standard. The user interface will be remapped to support multi-touch gestures, too, with pinch-to-zoom and flick-to-scroll sitting alongside the traditional Windows 7 Aero features.

For users who need more power, Perlman has confirmed plans to offer OnLive Desktop Pro, a $9.99-a-month upgrade that increases the storage space to 50GB and adds additional PC apps and a cloud-accelerated web browser to the mix. Additionally, OnLive Enterprise will bring large-scale deployment possibilities; although Perlman was somewhat quiet on the pricing for this top-end option.

The OnLive Desktop iPad app is due to launch this Thursday in the US, and 'soon' in the UK. While initially limited to iPad devices, OnLive has confirmed plans to roll the service out to other platforms, including Android tablets and smartphones, PCs, Macs and even the OnLive MicroConsole itself.

Is OnLive Desktop the tablet's killer app, or are you struggling to see the point of interacting with a traditional desktop on a portable device? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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