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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Windows 7 comes to the iPad

The future just got a little cooler.

OnLive — the company known for its cloud-based gaming service — has just launched a free iPad app that allows anyone to run a virtual touchscreen version of Windows 7 right from their iPad.

The service, called OnLive Desktop, requires a free OnLive account and runs on the company’s dedicated servers somewhere in the cloud. If you’re unfamiliar with that term, it essentially means that your iPad has become a remote-controlled computer, sort of like the movie Avatar. You are controlling the action remotely; all the processor power is being churned away on a computer possibly thousands of miles away, and a live video feed is beamed back to your iPad nearly instantaneously.

As of now, OnLive Desktop runs a very limited touchscreen version of Windows 7, which allows you to run software such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint and save the files remotely, where they can be accessed later via your OnLive account.

The only downside is that none of your settings are saved on exit. So, each time you log on to the service, Windows 7 will be reset and look identical to every user. You can save your work, but not your workspace. But hey, it’s free. And the service does allow you to save up to 2 GB of data on the cloud server.

While OnLive eventually plans to release a version for Android, PCs, Macs and TVs, for now users will have to settle for the free iPad version.