For iPad owners, one of the biggest frustrations is the lack of Microsoft Office software for the iOS operating system. While Microsoft has released other applications for the iPad, it still has not moved to release a version of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, or any of its other Office products for the operating system.
Last week, OnLive, a Cloud-based app that puts a PC desktop on the desktop of your iPad, announced the release of its free software that puts Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to your iPad. Yes, you heard that right. Free. And, yes, they are just like the real thing.
OnLive’s software will let you open, edit, and save your Office documents on your iPad, just as you would on a Windows-based PC. The Wall Street Journal tested the app and found that while it mimicked the experience of using Microsoft Office products on a PC, there are a few cons.
First, according to the Wall Street Journal, Office products were designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse. Since most iPad users are working sans those two items, navigating around can be tricky. Luckily, iPad users can purchase wireless keyboards, which is a must unless you are really good with the iPad’s on-screen keyboard. Many users aren’t.
Just like Microsoft’s Office Live, OnLive’s software is in the cloud. That means no software is ever actually installed on your iPad, which means there could be a slow-down if traffic is high on the servers at the time you’re using it. But, the good news about it being in the cloud is that your documents will be available on the server from any PC you use. Having your documents always accessible can be a huge convenience, especially for any of your employees who routinely prepare presentations for meetings.
Another con to the cloud is that it’s only available when you’re online. Although most of us are connected most of the time, this could be a problem if you aren’t always able to connect. Plus, with only 2 GB of storage, you could find yourself running out of space eventually. If you feel you’ll need more storage, the company plans to introduce a paid plan for $10 a month that will feature 50 GB of storage and let you share files with other users. You’ll also be given priority access to the server, as well as the ability to download some add-ons.
A bonus for your smartphone users—OnLive eventually plans to offer its service on the Android and iPhone operating systems. While the site doesn’t currently offer compatibility with sites like Dropbox, the company says it is working on adding that in the future, along with the ability to e-mail documents.
While OnLive isn’t perfect, this is still exciting news for iPad users who have been waiting for an Office product. Hopefully in the coming months OnLive will be able to satisfy iPad owners’ quests for more features and attract even more people to iPad ownership.
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