How impressive is the Desktop Plus version of OnLive's iPad software? For $4.99 a month it basically lets you run full Windows on your iPad, and at blazing speeds to boot. This is the cloud done right. Mostly.
OnLive is a cloud-based gaming company, and what it has done is to take the same technology that shoots first person shooters to your screens and apply it to running apps over the cloud. The company leverages countless servers in data centers connected to gigabit ethernet to run various programs for you—including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Internet Explorer—and then it sends that video to your iPad. Essentially, it turns your iPad into a display for one of its servers.
What's that mean in practice? First and foremost it means you can have Office on your iPad right now, today, and free, which was the promise of the original OnLive Desktop. You can edit documents, run video in PowerPoint presentations and basically do anything that you could if you were using Office on a desktop. You can use a software keyboard for input (which includes a Windows-centric keyboard layout) or hook up a bluetooth keyboard. It also recognizes handwriting, which is a neat trick.