OnLive plans to bring authentic Windows experience to iPad

by Phil Hornshaw

Not content with bringing PC games to tablets, cloud gaming service OnLive announced it’s creating an app that will bring the experience of Windows to the iPad.

The Edge has the story. The new app is called OnLive Desktop, and as the company describes it, it’s the first “no compromise Windows 7 experience” on the iPad. Users will get access to well-known and heavily used programs usually reserved for desktop computers like Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

OnLive Desktop is basically a remote desktop app, which means you’ll be accessing your own computer remotely from your iPad. The difference is, OnLive promises to make more features available than other remote desktop apps. You’ll be able to watch videos, access media and even play PC games, OnLive says. Basically, OnLive Desktop will make your iPad an extension of your PC. It’ll also feature input features like handwriting recognition, multi-touch capabilities and an on-screen keyboard, and uses cloud storage to save documents and make them available across multiple devices.

That’s a pretty big expansion on OnLive’s current core business, which is making PC games available over the Internet via a streaming service. That system works well: even if you don’t have the hardware to play some top-tier video games, OnLive’s service makes it possible to play them on your machine anyway. The company also recently released an Android app that makes that same capability possible on mobile devices, bringing full, quality video games normally reserved for consoles and PCs to mobile devices through the power of the Internet. An iPad version has been in the works for some time, but is not yet available, possibly because of complications getting it approved by Apple.

With the expansion to OnLive Desktop, it seems OnLive is setting its sights on becoming a company that offers business services and more practical apps, rather than just those related to gaming. It also has another business-related app, OnLive Enterprise, in the works. If the company can make OnLive Desktop work as well as its Android streaming gaming app does currently, that could be very good news for iPad owners who’d like to be able to use the device as a work tool on the go.

OnLive Desktop will come with 2 gigabytes of cloud storage space, and there will also be a premium storage plan of 50GB for $9.99 per month. The app is expected to be released Thursday, provided there are no issues with getting it approved, as there are with OnLive’s other streaming app.