You may have heard of OnLive, a company best known for it’s streaming / cloud gaming platform that allows you to play PC games on demand without downloading anything. Well now they also offer the OnLive Desktop app which allows you to access a PC in the cloud on your tablet. There are quite a few apps that will let you connect to your own desktop, however in this case you’re connecting to one of their desktops that have free, pre-installed apps (pretty much just Microsoft Office 2010 right now for free members).
Currently there are two service plans, Standard (free) and Plus ($4.99/mo) with Pro ($9.99/mo) listed as coming soon. The Standard service gets you access to a desktop (with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Reader) as available (I didn’t have any wait at all when I tried it this morning) and 2GB of cloud storage. I assume you can access your files on another computer by logging into your account, however when I tried to log into my account on my MacBook I kept getting redirected to the login page.
The Plus plan grants your priority access to a desktop, allows you to use Internet Explorer to browse the web with Flash enabled and includes “Gigabyte speed” cloud storage and Webmail. It doesn’t specify if it includes more cloud storage than the Standard 2gb, but it notes you can use DropBox and other cloud storage options with it.
The Pro plan offers the benefits of the Plus plan with 50gb of cloud storage. There’s also an Enterprise plan and Collaborative plan ‘coming soon’ with various other benefits included.
So far my experience with OnLive on my iPad has been a decent one. I noticed a tiny bit of lag when typing and clicking (or rather tapping) on things, but this very well could be due to some slower than preferable WiFi. Otherwise everything worked as expected and looks quite good on the iPad. I could certainly imagine this being a useful tool until Microsoft releases Office for the iPad. The app and its Standard service are free, so I recommend you create an account and give it a try. You never know when you might need it.
Below are a few screenshots of it running on my iPad: