Launching on the US App Store last week, OnLive Desktop streams a fully fledged virtualised instance of Windows 7 (with Microsoft Office) directly to your iPad.
As we touched on last week in our Best of CES
coverage, cloud gaming service OnLive -- which streams high-end PC games via a broadband connection to TVs, PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones -- has branched out into the realm of the Windows desktop. The company's latest offering, Onlive Desktop, launched last week in the US and effectively gives you a full Windows 7 PC desktop (with Microsoft Office conveniently pre-installed) for your iPad.
, which is free, connects your iPad to OnLive's datacentres in the US, which host an individualised virtual Windows 7 machine on your behalf and stream it back to your tablet. From the user's side of things, you've got de facto access to a full Windows 7 PC session, all from a handy little 4.8MB iPad app. And it's not just for Apple's tablet, either; OnLive plans to bring Desktop to Android devices, iPhones, PCs, Macs and TVs too (it was announced last week that the service will be built in to future builds of Google TV). The Standard package, which is free, gives you access to 2GB of file storage. Commercial upgrades are also available.
The catch? Sadly there's no word yet on when OnLive Desktop (as with OnLive's gaming platform) will be available in Australia. According to the company's web site, OnLive Desktop is only currently available in the US and UK, although it will "continue expanding into Europe and Asia." We contacted the company and asked when Australian users can expect to see a local release but have not as yet heard back.
One challenge in bringing OnLive's lineup to Australia is the relative slowness of our broadband (plus the absence of any OnLive servers locally), but it's possible that the constraints on getting OnLive Desktop working satisfactorily here would be less obstructive than for its game streaming counterpart, where registering zero-lag reactions is essential to the experience. It's worth noting that a similar service, CloudOn
, which provides iPad access to Microsoft Office apps (but not the full Windows 7 desktop VM) is also not currently available in Australia.
In the meantime, Australian iPad users can take take advantage of a number of remote control
apps available on the local App Store, which provide access to your own PC or Mac. These include Splashtop
and TeamViewer HD