Run Windows & Microsoft Office on the iPad for Free with OnLive Desktop
Want to run Windows 7 right on an iPad? OnLive Desktop does exactly that, letting you access a cloud-based Windows 7 PC directly from iOS. Complete with the full Microsoft Office 2010 suite, you can use Word, Excel, and Powerpoint with full touch controls, and believe it or not it’s actually really fast and fluid.
Amazingly, this is free for the first 2GB of virtual storage space on the cloud PC, though additional storage and paid plans are available. The paid plans start at $4.99 and include up to 50GB of storage, provide access to more Windows applications, add DropBox support, and also bring full Internet Explorer access with Flash (useful for web developers who don’t want to run IE in virtual machines).
Using OnLive Desktop is easy, here’s all you need to do:
The account signup process requires an email but is otherwise quick and painless. Enter that ID into the app, and you’ll immediately find yourself on the desktop of a Windows 7 machine, right on the iPad.
Try this service out and get it while you can, because there is some question as to how long OnLive Desktop will be around. Microsoft is actively complaining that the service violates their Windows 7 licensing agreements, though OnLive is adamant that it’s supported and is willing to fight for it. Hopefully the two can come to an agreement and keep the OnLive service alive, because frankly it’s a cool technical feat and also has some very useful applications for the real world. Better yet, Microsoft should just buy them and offer the service directly with Windows 8 Metro, which is optimized for touch and may well be a significant competitor to iOS down the road… who knows. Anyway, check it out, even if you don’t like Windows it’s impressive to try out the free service.
If you want to really have some fun, use OnLive Desktop on the iPad in combination with Reflection for Mac OS X, which brings Windows 7 to your iPad and onto your Mac:
Now, who wants to offer the same service for Linux and OS X?