want windows on your ipad?

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If you are like me, your answer is a resounding NO WAY!. But then reality reminds me that there are occasions I may "need" windows and the ability to access it from my iPad is pretty cool.

Now you can have that ability... and for free! (depending on what you want to do of course). Onlive, the folks who are best know for online gaming, has taken their technology and introduced OnLive Desktop. Basically it is a full copy of Windows with Word, Excel, and Power Point in the cloud. So it is like remote controlling a windows computer but instead of you having to install, configure, and maintain that computer, they do it for you virtually in the cloud.

Currently it is free for the basic setup with MS Office and for $4.95 / month you get web browsing with explorer, adobe flash, acrobat reader and additional storage. Does anyone else find it interesting that MS Office access is the "free" part of the service, but web browsing will cost you? It is good news that accessing and editing your documents is easy enough that Office is not worth paying for. It is sad news that there are still ancient web sites that can only be accessed with internet explorer and that so much content still relies on flash.

I have downloaded my free copy and played with it a bit. I think I will stick with the free version for now as it is very handy to be able to simply launch windows on my iPad when needed. The bad news for me is that my wife may need to get the paid version as she has to access a 1990's era web portal for a large school district and this option may be simpler than all the work to install and maintain Windows on her Mac... just to access ONE web site.

If you want to know more, take a look at the article David Pogue wrote for the NY Times. My recommendation, go on over to your iTunes and try it out for free. It won't be your day to day way to work on MS Word, but it is a handy arrow to have in your quiver.