Microsoft Office On Your iPad? You Bet, With OnLive

 

Have you seen this very VERY cool app for your iOS or Android device? OnLive, the streaming service for PC games, has developed a desktop client and companion mobile app that allows you to stream your favorite Microsoft desktop apps to your tablet. The iOS app has been out for about a month, and the Android app was just released this past week.


Want to try it out? Navigate to OnLive’s web page, create a free account, and download the client. Then, launch the app and sign into the account you created. You then will see a simplified Windows 7 desktop screen on your tablet. When you need to type, a proprietary keyboard pops up. Don’t get frustrated – the Windows interface is definitely stripped down when compared to its desktop counterpart. But, when you open up the applications, you will see the full Windows versions of PowerPoint, Word and Excel, as well as Adobe Reader. Easily move files between the desktop and the tablet. And they work pretty freaking well, with very little lag.

 

Free gets you 2GB of online storage and use of the core Office applications. $10 / month gets a Pro account, 50GB of storage, web browsing within the app and additional features promised, including collaboration and chat features. The Pro account also offers a faster experience and the ability to add a few more programs to the tablet-top.

 

Oh, and guess what? You can even run Flash in the browser on your iPad using the OnLive app, when you up-purchase your account. And, just to make it fun, they added a couple of games. For those times that you feel you have been too productive on your tablet with your new-found virtualization abilities.

 

It’s internet based, so the app won’t work without a connection and, when you have a lousy connection, it will show when you try to use the app. And if you have lots of typing to do, consider a bluetooth keyboard rather than the propriety Windows screen-based keyboard. Another downside to the free version is that you will be pushed to the end of the line for server access, making it difficult to use it when there is heavy traffic.

 

But, there is little doubt that OnLive is on to something and that this type of tech, along with apps like Dropbox, are definitely the wave of our productive, working future. If you would like to see the magic in action, check out Walt Mossberg’s video review for the Wall Street Journal YouTube channel – there is no question that this app can perform some magic.

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iCloud is Your Cloud

You can go sort of cloud by using cool tools like Dropbox and Gmail. Or you can REALLY go cloud and move your entire desktop up there. If that concept intrigues you, check out iCloud – a virtual computer on the Web. It’s not an operating system per se, but sure looks and acts like one, albeit one that works in the cloud, from any computer with internet access. Accessing your online computer is as easy as navigating to icloud.com in your web browser. When you do, log in, and your  own desktop emerges, giving you access to your most frequently used files and applications. Application gadgets, such as clock, calendar, weather, can be stored in the sidebar to the right. And, like your regular local desktop, your start menu resides to the lower left.

iCloud offers and impressive list of applications, including tools for mail, instant messaging, photo organization, file exploring, music and video playing, writing, calendaring, contacting and gaming.

iCloud utilizes the same general functions for file storing, backing up and managing as local systems, making it comfortably familiar to use. The extra cool feature is automatic syncing via it’s “Easy Upload” system, which keeps your virtual files synced with your local files similar to Dropbox.

Because it is cloud-based, sharing becomes much simpler – you are not limited to email or messaging to deliver your content:

And here is the kicker – because it is Web-based, iCloud can leverage technologies that make managing your virtual “desktop” from your mobile device possible. The mobile app allows you to access your iCloud files, view documents, and upload photos directly from your mobile camera. With the iPhone version, you can directly share any file from the phone, and email the file with a link using the iPhone’s built-in email.

iCloud is actively seeking developers to create applications that can leverage iCloud’s tools and services, much like Dropbox’s app “store.” Check out some of the apps that are already in cahoots with iCloud here.

For free, you get 3gb of storage space. A 100 gb superdrive is available for $39.95 per year – not too shabby for cloud space plus virtual desktop and integrated apps.

Intrigued? I know I am. Offering a free version gives you and I the opportunity to check out iCloud with little commitment. If it is impressive as it sounds, the paid version is not a lot to shell out for a lot of functionality and virtual, cloud space. Thanks, iCloud!