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OnLive brings Windows desktops in cloud to Android

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Already available for Apple’s(s aapl) iPad, OnLive Desktop launched for Android(s goog) devices on Thursday. The free software, available in the Android Market, allows tablets and smartphones to run an instance of Windows 7 through the web. The Windows environment is actually hosted in the cloud through OnLive’s servers, and the Desktop client allows remote access over a Wi-Fi or mobile broadband connection.

OnLive says that Android users can use Microsoft(s msft) software on their devices, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, in addition to Adobe Reader(s adbe) for PDFs. OnLive Desktop is free to use, but limits data storage to 2 GB. For $4.99 per month, OnLive offers higher priority to the virtual machines and accelerated browsing. A full 50 GB of storage will be available for the “coming soon” OnLive Desktop Pro, which is priced at $9.99 per month.

This solution may not sound appealing to all, but it’s one of the reasons I recently said, “The PC you buy in 3 years may not be a PC” in a GigaOM Pro report (subscription required). Instead of buying new computers, some consumers — and even enterprises — could leverage hosted Windows environments similar to OnLive Desktop and simply connect to them through a tablet. The PC isn’t dead, by any means, but it could become more desirable to rent one in the cloud.

4 Responses to “OnLive brings Windows desktops in cloud to Android”

  1. Vincenzo Mastrolilli

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Journal among the apps. Seeing Journal on an Ipad made me remember the fond tabletpc/UMPC days.

  2. PhoR11

    “The PC isn’t dead, by any means, but it could become more desirable to rent one in the cloud.”

    Have you thought about how ISP data caps might throw a GIANT wrench in that entire view of the possible future?

    • PhoR11, that’s an excellent point, of course. But even in light of home and mobile broadband caps, we’re still seeing more activity in photo and video uploads, movie and music streaming, and a greater reliance upon cloud storage in general. You could use the data cap argument against of these — some did when I called for “iTunes in the cloud” back in 2010 — but I strongly believe that we’ll continue to migrate more traditionally local services to the web. That’s one of our main themes here at GigaOm: broadband is the new processor.

      The reality is yes, data caps could hinder cloud-based desktops, or any other new web-based service. But I think ISPs and data providers will find ways to tweak plans to account for this; maybe even partner with some services to include data for them as part of the subscription fee. Regardless, great point; thx!