Its a known fact that there are simply no native apps from Microsoft for their most popular Office tools; Word, Powerpoint and Excel. While Apple does have their version of each in the App Store (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers), the conversion from one to the other is not always pretty and they really cannot be used interchangeably without expecting some loss of fidelity. OnLive is a soon to be new app which will give you access to a virtual version of Windows 7 for free, complete with Word, Powerpoint, and Excel all installed and ready for you to use on your iPad. Read on for more!
Sounds simple right? Well, it actually is. Create an account and you will be whisked away on your iPad to a Windows 7 screen ready with the Office Programs. Along with the Windows 7 and Microsoft Office tools, you are given 2GB of storage space. This memory is not on your iPad, but rather a part of an OnLive Server. The Office tools are promised to look and feel just like they do on a PC, though we have not gotten to use the app yet, as it is not released. The app is configured to work with touch based gesturing instead of a point and click mouse like some of the Virtual Desktop apps that log you into your own physical computers (LogMeIn, GoToMyPC). You will also be able to share documents, chat, and collaborate with other OnLive users.
On launch, the process of getting your documents into and out of this virtual machine may be a bit tricky as it does not work with email or other file hosting apps like DropBox. In order to get your documents on and off, you will have to browse to an address provided by OnLive and upload or download your documents. We hope the company will incorporate something like DropBox in the future. Another downside is that it will not support opening documents natively through web/email/etc. You know how if you hold down on a document from the iPad’s email app, it will ask you to Open In – usually giving you options based on apps you have installed? OnLive will probably not be on that list. Another issue is that logging in may become a chore. If there are too many users trying to login at once, you may be asked to wait. Also, there are no browsers or email programs and a minimum network speed requirement to launch; 1 megabit per second. You can not use the iPads built in keyboard, but rather just Windows pull up keyboard. A Blutooth keyboard may be the way to go with this one.
OnLive plans to charge $10 a month for 50GB of space, priority access, web browser, and some other programs. Though there are a lot of potential hangups, it wouldn’t hurt to download the free version and see how it works. It will be available soon.
Source: All Things D