Already available for Apple’s iPad, OnLive Desktop launched for Android 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 software on their devices, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, in addition to Adobe Reader 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.