If you haven't heard of OnLive before, get ready to hear a lot more about them in 2012. The streaming company has been around for a few years, but is just now making some major inroads into streaming all sorts of services to your iPad.
We've already covered the OnLive offering for Mac, console and iPad gaming, and it's pretty impressive (I saw a AAA console title streaming with almost no lag using hotel WiFi) -- so I was anxious to see what OnLive Desktop had to offer. Basically, it's like having a full computer experience on your iPad. Specifically, OnLive Desktop will drop you straight into Windows 7, and from there you can tap to launch the ubiquitous Office products. Similar to the existing CloudOn or Desktone systems but supercharged with OnLive's streaming tech, the intention is to give you a remote computing 'thin client' with the full power of the desktop productivity apps.
We'll have more to say about OnLive when we meet up with them here at CES, but you can check out a video of OnLive over at Engadget. For now, know that OnLive will be offering this service in tiers, starting with a free service that comes with 2 GB of cloud storage and access to a limited suite of office apps. Later there will be a Pro version, starting at $9.99 a month, with 50 GB of cloud storage, priority server access, more apps and accelerated browsing. And then there's an Enterprise offering that'll allow the kind of control and customization you'd expect if deploying this to dozens or hundreds of client iPads.
OnLive is one of the tech companies I have been watching for a while, and I'm terribly excited by what they are doing. Unfortunately, the company hasn't done a great job of explaing and marketing their product, which means (for now) it's something you have to try it before you believe. Still, at free, and launching on January 12, pretty soon you'll be able to try out OnLive Desktop for yourself. Check out the press release below if you dare.
Full Windows® Apps, Including Microsoft® Office, Delivered Instantly from the Cloud
Palo Alto, CA – January 9, 2012 – OnLive, Inc., the pioneer of instant-action cloud computing, announced that it is bringing the first no-compromise Windows desktop to iPad® through its free OnLive™ Desktop app, available Thursday in the iTunes® App Store. OnLive Desktop provides instant access to full-featured, media-rich Windows 7 applications, including Microsoft® Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® software, remotely hosted on powerful PC servers in the cloud.
Based upon OnLive's instant-action cloud gaming technology, OnLive Desktop delivers a seamless Windows desktop experience, with instant-response multi-touch gestures, together with a full on-screen Windows keyboard and handwriting recognition, enabling complete and convenient viewing and editing of even the most complex documents. Rich media, such as video, animation, slide transitions and even PC games, never before practical via remote desktop delivery, run fluidly and dynamically with instant-action interactivity. OnLive Desktop makes remote feel local.
"OnLive Desktop is the first app to deliver a no-compromise, media-rich Windows desktop experience to iPad, opening up powerful new possibilities for consumers and businesses," said Steve Perlman, OnLive Founder and CEO. "iPad users will now be able to simply and securely view and edit cloud-hosted documents with full-featured Windows desktop applications like Microsoft Office, just as if they were using a local high-performance PC. Multi-touch gestures respond instantly and smoothly, while HD videos, animations and PC video games-never before usable on a remote desktop-play seamlessly."
The FREE* OnLive Desktop app comes with 2 GB of secure cloud storage and as-available access to a cloud-based Windows 7 desktop pre-populated with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus several utilities and touch games. Using instant-response touch gestures such as pinch and zoom, flick to scroll, drag, drop and Aero snap, users can quickly and easily navigate files, open, edit and save the ones they need, and store them securely in the cloud for access from any device through a simple Web interface. PC apps have full desktop functionality: Word documents can be created and edited with full redline and commenting capability, using a full Windows touch-screen keyboard, handwriting recognition or Bluetooth keyboard. PowerPoint presentations can be created with rich graphics, videos and animated slide transitions, and even presented directly from the iPad, either onscreen or via an external monitor. Data can be updated and analyzed instantly in Excel, translated into graphs and transferred into presentation documents. With OnLive Desktop, work is now possible anywhere you have an iPad and Internet connectivity, with the immediacy, functionality and responsiveness of a local PC.
The Free OnLive Desktop app for iPad is just the tip of the iceberg. Android®, smartphones, PC, Mac® and monitor/TV support (via the OnLive MicroConsole™ thin client with Bluetooth keyboard/mouse) are coming soon, with your same OnLive Desktop available by login from any device. Your OnLive Desktop can be accessed anywhere, on any device, at any resolution.
OnLive Desktop Pro is coming soon, with 50 GB of cloud storage, priority access, full-featured cloud-accelerated browsing, additional PC apps, and other OnLive-unique features for just $9.99/month.
OnLive Enterprise will be available for businesses and organizations of all sizes, seeking centralized, secure computing resources, as well as Independent Software Vendors seeking to deliver custom applications. With OnLive Enterprise, IT departments have full control of user entitlements/access privileges to both retail and ISV applications, while enabling users to access the same applications through any device. For example, a hospital can entitle different levels of records access to doctors, receptionists and patients, with full privacy, whether data is viewed on a smartphone, computer, on an easily-sterilized tablet in an examining room, or even on a hospital room TV. No user data is left behind on any device, so records remain secure if a device is lost or stolen. (IT professionals and ISVs, please contact OnLive at firstname.lastname@example.org for OnLive Enterprise details and pricing.)
OnLive Desktop Pro and Enterprise support exclusive OnLive collaborative services. Building on the same proven technology as the massive spectating Arena of the OnLive Game Service, OnLive securely enables as many as thousands of simultaneous users to view one or many OnLive Desktops from any device, with live spectating and group chat, and multi-user control. Whether using OnLive collaborative services as a shared document reader or virtual whiteboard in a small workgroups, for chatting over home videos among far-flung family members, or for lecturing with Q&A to an audience of thousands of students around the world, OnLive provides instant, media-rich collaboration.
The OnLive Desktop iPad app will be available Thursday to U.S. customers for free in the iTunes App Store, and will be released soon in the UK. Customers are encouraged to sign up early for their free OnLive account, available today at www.desktop.onlive.com. For more information, visit www.desktop.onlive.com.