OnLive Uses Cloud To Give iPad The Windows Treatment

Online cloud and gaming upstart OnLive

With the launch of OnLive Desktop, the company known for its on-demand gaming prowess is looking to make the iPad a true business tool.

"We love our iPads. There's no question. But when you're on the go with work and a file needs editing -- or creating – it's hard to feel free to leave your computer behind. At least, that's how it has been," wrote OnLive Founder and CEO Steve Perlman in a blog post announcing OnLive Desktop. "But starting this Thursday, life is going to change."

Perlman's proclaimed life changer is the OnLive Desktop app, available via the iTunes App Store, which uses OnLive's instant-action game technology to give users instant access to a Windows desktop experience. According to Perlman, the app offers full-featured Microsoft Office applications -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint -- and 2 GB of cloud storage for anywhere file access.

"Need to edit a Word doc with redlines and comments? No problem. Need to give some oomph to that PowerPoint deck for your meeting? Go for it: present animations and slide transitions, edit diagrams and embed videos. Desperate for a pivot table in Excel? Pivot away … Anything you can do on your office desktop, you will be able to do on your iPad -- at home, in your hotel, anywhere," Perlman wrote.

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OnLive cautioned that Windows 7 multi-touch navigation is different than mouse navigation, but touch gestures like Aero snap, swipe to scroll, drag, drop, pinch and zoom lets users control desktop folders and Office apps.

Additionally, files and content created and saved on the iPad are accessible anywhere, so iPad PowerPoint updates can be accessed via a work desktop and vice versa though a Web portal from which documents can be downloaded.

OnLive Desktop is getting its start on the iPad, but Perlman said it will soon also reach iPhone, Android, PC and Mac. And users can use monitors and TVs via an OnLive MicroConsole with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

"Essentially, you'll be taking your computer with you without having to carry it," Perlman wrote.

OnLive Desktop is the first in a line of cloud products OnLive will launch. Coming soon is OnLive Desktop Pro, which will offer users 50 GB of cloud storage, priority access to apps, full-featured cloud-accelerated browsing and additional PC applications for $9.99 per month; Online Enterprise, a version of Online Desktop that enables customization and access controls, and integration of custom independent software applications; and OnLive collaboration services for Pro and Enterprise which let users simultaneously view, control and discuss a shared media-rich desktop via voice chat.

"OnLive Desktop marks the start of new chapter in Cloud Computing: The era of Instant-Action Cloud Computing, where the response time from the cloud is so fast, you can't tell you're connected to the cloud at all," Perlman wrote.