Thursday, January 12, 2012

CES 2012: Hands on: OnLive Desktop review

Not content with taking on the gaming giants with its great streaming service, OnLive surprised all this week by announcing that it was getting into cloud computing in a big way, with the launch of OnLive Desktop for the iPad.
This service allows iPad users to use the Microsoft Office Suite on their tablets with full touch capabilities and the added bonus of being able to show off processor-intensive presentations without worrying that the iPad can't handle the pressure. This is because the whole thing is streamed in real-time from OnLive's bounty of servers so the tablet you are using is a conduit to the service.
TechRadar was given an in-depth look at OnLive Desktop at CES 2012 and it's quite frankly incredible.

While many will think that it is an odd thing for OnLive to launch, it does make sense that the company has gotten into the cloud computing sector.
In fact it is a logical leap; the servers and the technology are already there from its gaming sector so you don't have to worry about things like latency and service dropouts.

Considering OnLive has so far had no downtime whatsoever, there's no question that you can trust the company to deliver Microsoft Office without fear that your documents will be stuck in the internet ether.
OnLive Desktop works by downloading the app, signing up to the service – you can use your current OnLive log-in – and then accessing Office from the OnLive portal.

The apps are all completely touch enabled as you are essentially accessing the native Microsoft Windows 7 software from OnLive's cloud service.
When we scrolled through both Word and PowerPoint we noticed minimal lag and you could pinch and zoom into the docs with ease.
If you have a stylus handy then you can write onto the doc and the handwriting recognition tech will turn your scrawl into text.

There's also afull on-screen Windows keyboard and we played back the likes of video, animation and slide transitions was effortless.
OnLive has nailed cloud computing with OnLive Desktop. Its servers ooze power and speed and this is noticeable when using the service. Well, actually it's not as you easily forget that the document you are creating is in the cloud and not on the iPad itself.

When the service is released on iOS this week, Onlive Desktop will be free. With this you get 2GB of storage and access to Microsoft Office.
A premium version is in the works called Onlive Desktop Pro and this will offer 50GB of storage and the brilliant addition of superfast web browsing. Through the Pro version, you will be able to browse the web using all the power of OnLive's servers.

Not only does this offer full Flash web browsing (we know, on an iPad!) but you can take advantage of OnLive's speedy web connection. We were shown a speed test and it maxed out at 375Mbps, but OnLive reckons it can be far speedier.

The brilliant thing about this new service is that it sounds like it is just the start of many programmes getting a cloud makeover.
OnLive let us into a secret that it began life as a white label solution for Autodesk, where it ported the processor-intensive Maya 3D-rendering software into the cloud.

If it can do that with ease, then hosting a Word document won't exactly see its servers breaking a sweat.
If you aren't an iPad user, then an Android version of the service is coming soon.

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