OnLive Brings Superfast Windows to the iPad | TechPinions

By running instances of Windows on a server instead of a game, OnLive has duplicated the trick for productivity software. It works a bit like Citrix’s server-based Windows, but with performance so good you think the software is running locally, and on a really fast machine at that. The key to the performance, says OnLive CEO Steve Perlman, is that it was “built against the discipline of instant-action gaming.”

The OnLive Desktop app will be available from the iTunes Store later today. A basic version, which includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel and 2 gigabytes of online storage, is free.

via OnLive Brings Superfast Windows to the iPad | TechPinions.

Update: Mossberg reviews the new OnLive service.

Update 2: Microsoft and OnLive sort out licensing issues.

I’m simultaneously mystified, intrigued, and concerned.

Remote desktop apps such as iTap RDP do a remarkably good job at translating the traditional keyboard/mouse environment into a touch world, but it’s still a tedious experience at best. If the application running in the remote environment is painful while sitting at a laptop (a not-uncommon experience in large corporate environments with huge legacy environments), it’s going to be excruciating on an iPad, much less an iPhone or other smaller-screen device.

Thus, I generally advocate against exposing the desktop environment through an iPad as a substitute for native apps, and solutions like this make me nervous that more companies are going to try to replace a laptop with an iPad without significantly rethinking the ways in which users interact with the corporate ecosystem.

Returning to the mystified/intrigued half of my brain: how can OnLive give tens of millions of iPad users a free virtual Windows box with a free copy of Office? This will definitely be interesting to watch.

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