Onlive for the iPad

I’ve been able to spend a bit of time on the new Onlive app for the iPad, which enables access to the full versions of Windows Office. It works and performs extremely well. I was able to open MS Office docs and work with them like I was on a laptop or desktop. This means that all of the functionality of Office on the desktop is available on the iPad—pretty cool and worth the $5 a month subscription.

The only downside that I can see, right now, is storage. First, it’s yet another storage solution. Second, there is no Windows or OSX client for the onlive storage solution. In the Onlive app, I can access dropbox via Internet Explorer. Opening a file was very easy, I just clicked on the file, responded to the prompt to open, and it opened in the native app it was created (Word, Excel, Powerpoint). However, when I made a change and saved it, it saved to the Onlive storage area (as expected). But in order for me to get to that newly saved file on my Mac, I had to open to a browser and download it. Now, I have the version in Dropbox, the new version stored in Onlive storage, and the download of that version. The same is true with Google Docs or any other online storage solution.

If they come out with a dropbox type client for Windows and OSX, this could easily be a strong competitor, maybe killer, to many of the current storage and app solutions (i.e dropbox, DocsToGo, Office HD, etc). Of course, like all cloud services, if you don’t have a network connection, you can’t access it. This is where solutions like Dropbox and Office HD have the upper hand. With Dropbox, you can indicate which files should be available to you offline (like on an airplane) and then you can open them in your favorite app, like Office HD, and work on them. They’re still synchronized and then available to other devices.