Actually, You Can Get Microsoft Office On Your iPad! And It's Pretty Awesome

onlive ipad windows

Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider

The OnLive Desktop app allows you to enjoy all the familiar comforts of running Windows and popular apps like Microsoft office on your iPad.In other words, by downloading this app you are now downloading Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint onto your iPad where you can create and work on documents in any of these formats. 

OnLive is able to bring you this service through their cloud computing technology where powerful PCs running Windows remotely deliver the Windows touch experience to your iPad.

Click here to see photos of OnLive for iPad >
No doubt the technology behind it is impressive. OnLive has given us a glimpse of the future while at the same time proving how powerful tablet devices can be.

The question for me however, was not whether the app is great, but whether it’s necessary. By that I mean, do I want the power to build Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents on my iPad given keyboard and touch screen limitations? If I need to do something that requires this much utility wouldn’t I just use my desktop computer or laptop?

For me, the answer to the latter question was yes. I played around with the OnLive Desktop and I have to say, seeing the familiar UI of a Windows desktop was pretty cool. But there was no value beyond that.

This may be for a few reasons. For example, I signed up for the free, standard service plan, which only gives you access to the multi-touch desktop, 2 GB of cloud storage, and Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

If you sign up for the OnLive Desktop Plus for $4.99 a month, you get all those amenities plus a full Flash browser, much faster browsing speed, and more access to cloud storage and web email.

That’s right, you will get faster Internet speeds, Flash, and everything that comes with Windows on the iPad. It’s functions like this that have gadget reviewers like David Pogue so excited about the OnLive Desktop.

If you are an iPad power user looking to have Flash, Windows, Office, and a speedier Internet experience on your iPad, then the $5 upgrade sounds like a good deal. Otherwise, your iPad should suit you fine just as it is.

Start by downloading the app in the app store. You can find it by searching OnLive Desktop.

Once you have downloaded the app, you will be asked to sign a user agreement.

Once you agree you are on your way to unlocking the OnLive experience.

But to sign in you will first need to sign up at the OnLive Desktop website. You may want to do this before you download the app so you are prepared.

To sign up, you will need to choose a Standard or Plus subscription service. If you are a power user and really want to use your tablet for everything, you probably want to upgrade to the Plus service for $4.99/month.

Then you're going to share some information about yourself.

Once you have finished signing up, you can go back to the app and sign in.

That will take you to the OnLive Desktop.

Here's a look at Word on the app. It should look familiar. Notice the size of that keyboard though. If you have a stylus, you can also use that to write.

Here's a look at Excel on the app.

And PowerPoint on the app. The slides are a bit tough to see when the keyboard is up.

However, once the keyboard goes away, the PowerPoint slide gets bigger.

You can sync and upload files from other devices to your OnLive Desktop through your account at the OnLive Desktop website.

Simply choose the file you want to upload...

...from your documents folder...

...and the file will appear.

You should see this pink success notice when you are done. If you do, you have done it right.

Then, like any normal document, you go to whichever program you used to create the file, such as Word, and open it.

One problem I kept running into was this notice that told me I had a network problem. I admit though that my broadband is a bit slow.

The other major flaw I noticed with the app is the screen would go blurry at times while it loaded or after I touched it. It would take a while to sharpen and come into focus.

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