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OnLive sneaks Windows 7 into the iPad

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Tablet fondlers can finally get some work done thanks to streaming cloud supplier OnLive, which now pipes the full Windows 7 experience from its data centres to punters' palms.

Right now the free app doesn't maintain any settings between sessions, but does provide a working Win 7 desktop, and copy of Microsoft Office, which can interact with files stored in an OnLive account. Alternatively it could be used to trick your mates into believing you've managed to blag a next-generation Windows tablet for the afternoon.

OnLive Desktop works in exactly the same way as OnLive's gaming service which Reg Hardware favourably reviewed earlier this week. The applications (be they games or word-processing packages) run on a remote server with the screen streamed to the user. Interactions with the user are sent back to the server to process, and while some reports said that early versions of the client were a little laggy OnLive's experience in getting twitch-reaction gaming to work should help it create a smooth desktop experience.

Decent connectivity is therefore essential - don't expect to be running Microsoft Word on an aeroplane, or even away from a decent Wi-Fi connection.

It's not the first time we've seen Windows streamed to a fondleslab: VNC and Citrix have been doing it for a while if one can be bothered to set up a computer to be shared, but OnLive is making it as simple as downloading the app and firing it up.

The virtual machines containing the Windows desktops are running on the same metal as the games, so anyone using OnLive for gaming shouldn't have any problems using OnLive Desktop, should they be desirous of vanilla Windows.

Without persistence the usefulness is limited as one can't install the legacy applications that make Windows such a necessity, but that should change once the company has got the service tightened up and tested. Until then it's still well worth a look if only for the novelty factor. ®

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