OnLive brings Windows to iPad

Cloud gaming service OnLive has further expanded its reach today by announcing OnLive Desktop, a free app which brings Microsoft Windows to Apple's iPad.

The company says OnLive Desktop is the first "no-compromise" Windows experience on iPad, which will give full access to Windows 7 applications including Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. The app offers multi-touch recognition, a full on-screen keyboard and handwriting recognition.

In a press release, CEO and founder Steve Perlman said: "OnLive Desktop is the first app to deliver a no-compromise, media-rich Windows desktop experience to iPad, opening up powerful new possibilities for consumers and businesses. iPad users will now be able to simply and securely view and edit cloud-hosted documents with full-featured Windows desktop applications like Microsoft Office, just as if they were using a local high-performance PC.

"Multi-touch gestures respond instantly and smoothly, while HD videos, animations and PC videogames – never before usable on a remote desktop – play seamlessly."

The move further shows that OnLive has the potential to be far more than the cloud gaming service that launched in the UK last September. At the London Games Conference in November, CTO Tom Paquin pitched OnLive as a platform for developers as well as players, and this latest announcemtn shows that OnLive is also seeking to move into the business world.

The app will be a free download from the iOS App Store on Thursday, providing it escapes the fate suffered by the OnLive Player app, which is still stuck in approval limbo a month on from its intended release.

Users are given 2GB of cloud storage, but a premium version of the service will also be available soon. OnLive Desktop Pro will offer 50GB of storage, access to more apps, and more, for $9.99 a month. Also in the pipeline is OnLive Enterprise, a cloud-based, secure, all-purpose computing solution for businesses.