Imagine having remote access, via a tablet or low-end desktop, to the most powerful desktop setup with automated software and security updates constantly being installed for you. Imagine having never to pay hundreds of dollars for the latest software, but rather being able subscribe to most of what you need for less than $10 per month, including an internet connection faster than most businesses. Think of it like paying for cable (when cable was affordable). For a set low price you get the basics. A base OS, with the software basics such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel etc all pre-installed. Then imagine being able to add any other application that you needed for a mere few dollars a month. That is what OnLive Desktop has started to deliver upon.
Right now, OnLive runs Windows 7, which is surprisingly easy to use. I cannot imagine how much better the experience will be once Windows 8 launches.
The most amazing thing about it is the ability for you to truly run a full computing experience in the cloud, available from anywhere; tablet, smart-phone or a cheap, low-end netbook that would normally never be able to open large Powerpoint files or even think about running photo or video editing software.
It takes a mind-shift. One that is similar to the idea of ‘renting access’ to music via a subscription service similar to Spotify. Overall, the cost to the user drops considerably – while the demand for piracy is eliminated.
Once you try it, it truly is a mind-blowing experience. One that cannot help us question what the future of software will really be. If this is just the beginning, the current business model for creating and selling software could change dramatically. It could unseat today’s software giants and completely eliminate the advantage of the hardware and software coupling that Apple holds so precious today. Perhaps that is why Apple has been so focused on the cloud lately.
The service, available to Android and Apple iOS users, brings a copy of the Windows 7 desktop interface to a user’s tablet through the cloud. A free version brings with it 2GB of storage and access to most Windows applications including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. A premium version for $4.99 per month also offers access to other cloud-based storage services, as well as a fast web browser. Versions for the PC, Mac and TV are coming soon.