OnLive Desktop is... um, live

OnLive, the same folks who brought streaming games to your TV and computer, have a new service out: OnLive Desktop, which gives you access to a hosted Windows 7 system with limited functionality.

I was skeptical this service would be any good, but the only way to confirm that would be to try it out. I requested my access and, about a day later, it was granted. After downloading the app on to my iPad (Android and Mac apps are coming soon), I was on Windows 7.

Right now, the only apps available are Windows Media Player and Office 2010. I was impressed with the streaming quality; there's a video in WMP that's an overview of the service, and the streaming experience was the same quality as video residing on my iPad.

Office was difficult to navigate around, as it's not designed for touch. There's a Microsoft keyboard that comes up when you want to type, but it's nowhere near as usable as the iPad's native onscreen keyboard. Luckily, there's some decent handwriting recognition that's built in to the touch interface for Win 7, and it seems to work easier than the keyboard (if you have a stylus handy, anyway).

You can share files between the app and your own computer through a website that OnLive provides, so you can share your .doc and .docx files.

When I say "limited", I mean limited. There's a handful of "sample" content and applications that show off Win7's touch capabilities, but there's nothing mind blowing here. There is no web browser, and no hint of other productivity apps, although OnLive says they're working on bringing more applications to the platform.

Overall, it's worth the price of admission ($0), though I don't think I'll be using it too much. Pages on the iPad works great for my word processing needs, and most of my heavy-duty writing is done in Scrivener on my Mac. If you really love the Office experience and want to bring that to your iPad, OnLive will make your want a reality.