The Future Is Here
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Streaming Office to Your iPad Is Terrifying and Wonderful

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Onlive hands on

OnLive, venerable streamer of PC games to tablets, has a new trick up its sleeve: putting Windows 7 on iPads and Android tablets. Oh really? Thank a lot, OnLive. There's officially nowhere left to escape work. And the worst part? It works. Really. Well.

What a terrifying—and honestly, incredibly impressive—future.

I really wanted this not to be good. I'm fine with OnLive streaming PC games to my iPad. But do I really want the ability to work on my iPad like I'm sitting in front of a Windows 7 desktop? Okay, now that I've seen it in person I actually want that.


How does it work? It's as simple as downloading a 2MB app and launching it. When it's open, you're greated with Windows 7. Ruthlessly simple.

Like the company's gaming experience, the OnLive Desktop suffers from little to no latency. Everything is being rendered on OnLive's servers back in Silicon Valley. And because Microsoft built Windows 7 to support all those tablets no one bought, navigation on the iPad was much easier than expected. Swipes, taps, they all worked as advertised.


Launching and using applications works just as well as the operating system itself. Pinching to zoom and selecting text is actually easier than the iPad and Android tablet's native system. You can type either with the onscreen keyboard, or a Bluetooth paired keyboard.

Out of the gate, you can get the app and access to the core Microsoft Office suite for free. Zero subscription cost. But, you might have to wait your turn. If too many people are updating a spreadsheet, you'll have to wait until a space opens up for you to jump on. Pricing for upgrading individual accounts hasn't been announced yet. Enterprise subscriptions will also be announced sometime in the future.