Believe it or not, but the screenshot above is from my iPad Mini. 100% truth. No lie. It looks like Windows 7 though doesn't it?
As I was searching for what OSes I could port to my iPad, I stumbled upon this beauty. OnLive is the name of the app, and guess what? It's free. The catch? Allow me to explain it as thorough as I can.
Actually, after doing a little snooping around, I found that this is a Windows Server 2008 version.
So this service, OnLive, strives to give iPad users the full and rich environment of the Windows platform as much as is possible. This is all on a cloud, none of it is stored locally except pieces of the app. If you randomly disconnect, it seems that the app is able to temporarily store the files not synced to the server too so there is quite a bit of room available. Many users' biggest complaints have to be with the slow service. It is slow due to it running through a constant internet connection. Basically, the faster the connection, the better your experience. I'm using it on my home's WiFi at around 20 Mbps so imagine me running it on my cell's 3G service at 4 Mbps. It was a little slow and laggy for me on 20 but not too much that I couldn't use it.
The desktop is very much like that of your computer's user interface. Complete with right click, dragging, and even window and icon arrangements as you can see in the photos below.
Below is a screenshot of the keyboard used in the app. Note that it is different from the usual iPad keyboard in many ways. This is done mostly to help the user navigate much more easily as if they were using a computer.
So why would this sort of app be useful and who would it be useful for? The people behind this boast of the app's ability to run a full version of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint 2010 while using the app. Since this is all strictly cloud-based, any documents that you create here will be accessible anywhere you can login to OnLive. Below are some screenshots from me actually using Microsoft Word.
As you can see, it is the same version as you'd use on your home computer. Complete with spellcheck.
There's the traditional save, don't save, cancel screen.
If you do choose to save, you are given the option where to save and what to name it.
It gets even more cool, allowing you to save it as any file type you'd like to save it as, just like you can do on a computer!
Once your document is saved, it can be found where you saved it at. I saved mine in the documents area.
I found out something else that's cool is that on a regular Windows 7 computer, you have the ability to move windows to one side and the other and make them fit perfectly to one side of the screen. This app allows you to do that too!
I've been playing around with the app a little more. I tried using Excel and it's a good experience too. I have yet to try Powerpoint but I'm sure it's legitimate just like Word and Excel are.
For more advanced Windows users, this experience isn't meant for us. There is no control panel, no command prompt...nothing like that. You've got to think that this is all on an iPad too so there's no USB support nor a My Computer page. Trying to access the C:\ drive results in an error.
What's very likely is that this is a server that gives guest permission to all users logging in. That would explain why there's no special features for us.
As you can see by the desktop, there is an Internet Explorer and it is usable and connects to the internet.
You can maximize, minimize, resize, and close all windows too.
While this is a free to download app and free to signup, there is an option to get more features at $4.99 a month. One of the boasted features is flash enabled in Internet Explorer.
This is a very cool app to have and a must have for anyone who loves to show off. With your free edition also comes 2 GB of storage. I logged out and logged back in after saving that Word document and it was still there waiting for me when I logged back on. So the cloud really does save your documents and will open them back up.
I think this app is best for the show-off, business type, and the student. I can see myself rushing to class and using this to type the finishing touches on a paper that's due. I do not think that there is any support for a printer so you will have to e-mail the paper to yourself and then print it. I can imagine this being useful for someone who's in an office with constant access to the web using this for their various projects. And I can see people like myself who love to show-off, using this to impress friends.
You can't beat the price no matter which way you look at it. I plan to keep the free version because it's fine how it is for me. But I'm sure the extra $4.99 a month is nothing for someone who would really use this.