Yes, your ipad can run Mi­crosoft Win­dows 7

The Washington Times Daily - - Business -

For­get the cant of com­put­ing purists: Some­thing has changed in the space-time con­tin­uum and Mi­crosoft Win­dows 7 now runs, quite hap­pily, on an Ap­ple ipad tablet.

A new ser­vice, On­live Desk­top, will put “as avail­able” ac­cess to Mi­crosoft Win­dows and these ap­pli­ca­tions: Word, Ex­cel, Pow­erpoint, and Adobe Reader, on your ipad for free. Pay $4.99 a month, and the “as avail­able” part goes away; you get pri­or­ity ac­cess to the On­live sys­tem, as well as un­lim­ited In­ter­net Ex­plorer Web ac­cess at what the firm calls “breath­tak­ing” speeds. That means an ipad user can ac­cess a web­site run­ning Adobe’s Flash an­i­ma­tion soft­ware — some­thing Ap­ple banned from the ipad’s op­er­at­ing sys­tem — and have a blast do­ing it.

I know this, be­cause I did it last week on a ipad 2 us­ing a Wi-fi con­nec­tion. It was an im­pres­sive ex­pe­ri­ence.

Other ver­sions of On­live Desk­top are planned to let you add your own Win­dows ap­pli­ca­tions, to work with en­ter­prise com­put­ing sys­tems, and even to run on desk­top Mac­in­tosh com­put­ers and other tablet plat­forms. On­live Inc., the com­pany be­hind this, even says it will put Win­dows on your net­work-con­nected HDTV.

The firm says its “patented in­stant-ac­tion cloud gam­ing tech­nol­ogy” is what brings Win­dows, Mi­crosoft’s In­ter­net Ex­plorer Web browser and the ba­sic Mi­crosoft Of­fice com­po­nents to the ipad so quickly. The On­live firm, in a state­ment, put it this way: “Only the top layer of the cur­rently vis­i­ble part of a web­site is ever sent over the lo­cal con­nec­tion. Es­sen­tially, On­live Desk­top de­liv­ers only what you can see or hear at a given mo­ment, po­ten­tially re­duc­ing data us­age by a fac­tor of 10 or more.”

That’s a long way of say­ing this stuff is, well, wicked fast.

Now, that’s good for, well, gamers, and par­ents want­ing to keep chil­dren en­ter­tained with the Dis­ney web­site or some such. But it’s also rather good for those of us who need to in­ter­act with so­phis­ti­cated web­sites re­lated to jobs or stud­ies or some such, or, for that mat­ter, to be able to watch video more eas­ily.

And there’s some­thing else to all this: If you can “vir­tu­al­ize” Win­dows 7 and the main Of­fice apps for the masses, rent­ing it out, in ef­fect, for $5 a month, where do you go from there? Could a com­pany or fed­eral agency set up their own On­Live clus­ter to han­dle com­put­ing, re­vis­ing and up­dat­ing ap­pli­ca­tions when needed? The­o­ret­i­cally, yes.

Once the On­live ser­vice ex­tends to desk­top Macs and An­droid tablets, as well as ipads, then ubiq­uity takes on a whole new mean­ing. Work­ers (and, I sup­pose, their man­agers) can more freely de­cide where to work, on what hard­ware, and how they like, all while retaining a level of con­nec­tiv­ity and col­lab­o­ra­tion that would oth­er­wise not be pos­si­ble.

The busi­ness/en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tions for this are about as var­ied as the imag­i­na­tions of the many po­ten­tial users out there. This kind of a ser­vice — be­cause it uses a lower amount of band­width than you might ex­pect — can go fur­ther, and do more. When the boundaries of com­put­ing are pushed back, amaz­ing things can hap­pen.

As much po­ten­tial as there is here, some caveats at­tach to that vista. The On­live ser­vice must have Wi-fi or 4G LTE cel­lu­lar data — the lat­ter not yet avail­able on an ipad — to work. The ap­pli­ca­tions are “rented,” which means you can’t cus­tom­ize Word to your per­sonal style. Doc­u­ment stor­age is 2 gi­ga­bytes’ worth for the free ac­counts, more (via sep­a­rate ser­vices such as Drop­box) on the “plus” ac­count. A promised “Pro” ver­sion, $9.99 a month, will of­fer 50 gi­ga­bytes of free stor­age. And, again, you’re limited right now to some very ba­sic ap­pli­ca­tions.

Also, the ex­pe­ri­ence of us­ing your fin­ger to point at, se­lect, move and op­er­ate in Win­dows takes some get­ting used to. You can use a Blue­tooth key­board with On­live’s Win­dows im­ple­men­ta­tion, but not a mouse, which is some­thing of a Win­dows ne­ces­sity.

But the speed, beauty and raw power of On­live Desk­top Plus are, to me, worth a $4.99 per month in­vest­ment. Given the right cir­cum­stances, I’d even go for the “Pro” ver­sion. This is an ex­cit­ing har­bin­ger of an even more ex­cit­ing fu­ture. Find more in­for­ma­tion at http://desk­top.on­live.com.

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