OnLive Desktop Plus launches; super-fast IE9 for iPad

In January, OnLive, best known for their streaming PC gaming service, launched the free OnLive Desktop app for Apple's iPad. That app allowed users access to a number of Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) that are run via OnLive's cloud-based servers, along with 2 GB of storage. Now OnLive is providing users with a second tier of service that adds more features.

The company has now launched OnLive Desktop Plus which cost $4.99 a month. For that price, users can now gain access to Internet Explorer 9, again running on OnLive's cloud servers. OnLive says that because of its gigabit-based connections, people who run IE9 via OnLive Desktop Plus will get "by far the world's fastest mobile browsing experience, if not the fastest consumer browsing experience available on any device."

IE9 on OnLive Desktop Plus also supports Flash which means that iPad owners will finally be able to see and interact with Flash-based web sites. It will also help with downloading or uploading files via services like Dropbox or email attachments via Hotmail. Onlive states:

A 50 megabyte file from cloud storage (e.g., Dropbox) or a 15 megabyte attachment from Web email (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, etc.) can literally download or upload in less than a second, resulting in an utterly transformative Web experience.

In addition both the free and the paid Desktop services now support Adobe Reader. OnLive still plans to launch OnLive Desktop Pro later this year for $9.99 a month. It will add 50 GB of cloud storage along with support for users to store their own apps on OnLive's cloud services. The app should also be made available for other platforms (iPhone, Android, Windows PC, Mac) sometime later.

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I wonder how this is possible, are they paying licence fees to MS for each instance of Office and Windows they are virtualising?

If I remember correctly, OnLive requires a connection capable of sustaining a constant 5mbps.

I hope they've optimized the living crap out of it, and it doesn't just blindly send a video stream of a desktop.

Given current data plans, what's that gonna cost you while you're on the road? Ouch.

_dandy_ said,
If I remember correctly, OnLive requires a connection capable of sustaining a constant 5mbps.

I hope they've optimized the living crap out of it, and it doesn't just blindly send a video stream of a desktop.

Given current data plans, what's that gonna cost you while you're on the road? Ouch.


I'd imagine (or at least I'd hope) their video compression only sends the changes in the image through to the client PC. Obviously with a game, almost 100% of the screen is changing 100% of the time, hence the 5mbps. But with something like IE9 or MS Office, only a relatively small portion of the screen would be changing, and only every so often. This would use MUCH less bandwidth.

TCLN Ryster said,

I'd imagine (or at least I'd hope) their video compression only sends the changes in the image through to the client PC. Obviously with a game, almost 100% of the screen is changing 100% of the time, hence the 5mbps. But with something like IE9 or MS Office, only a relatively small portion of the screen would be changing, and only every so often. This would use MUCH less bandwidth.

Yeah, and these things could be built into frames or windows, according to application need.

It is only a matter of time before there are enough users to bring these super-fast connections and cloud servers to their knees, forcing to reduce functionality or raise prices.
Also, how fast does it bog down capped connections?

cralias said,
It is only a matter of time before there are enough users to bring these super-fast connections and cloud servers to their knees, forcing to reduce functionality or raise prices.
Also, how fast does it bog down capped connections?

It should not be much different than what large companies do now if they have high bandwidth problems, but a cloud service setup correctly can bypass most all speed problems. Take Netflix as an example. How much more bandwidth would people demand while looking at a desktop, or typing a paper, if the price point and hardware were crazy cheap? If they were tired of buying new everything every couple of years? I would guess one use per account, as Netflix somewhat does, with scaling cost for more portals at some point. As "all" these cloud services start hogging resources, limits on servers would be set, but it would still be far cheaper over time. But the more important idea is,"if" a software could "only" be run on those servers for reason of whatever, that would become dependency.

cralias said,
It is only a matter of time before there are enough users to bring these super-fast connections and cloud servers to their knees, forcing to reduce functionality or raise prices.
Also, how fast does it bog down capped connections?

Indeed, because it's impossible for them to add more servers to share the load in line with the increase in users.

Servers (and leccy and bandwidth) all cost good amount of monies.

Even Steam often cannot cope with the load at peak times. Moreover, OnLive requires steady connections, it cannot just cap or throttle people or make them wait in lines.

Now if they can just release an Android and/or PC app so the rest of the world who didn't waste money on overpriced apple crap can use it, that would make it 100x better.

It can be anything, this is the future. Shared resources are almost always more powerful and cheaper. No need to download anything, just open it once you have access. If "anything" can be played back, then all actions can take place from input/output only devices. It also would be the cheapest way. I'm still shocked that MS has not tried to buy Onlive, especially with it's name, fully knowing what future possibilities it has. Onlive / Quicktime creator, holds the patent on the fastest possible way to do this. So in the future why would we need 100mb connections if everything can be delivered in real time at a slower necessary connection speed, and processed on a computer that none of us could buy? No need to update, upgrade, download, transfer, copy, package, resale, deliver, security, sharing, and the list goes on. If everything is in the "cloud" at some point, any arguments about security are already dead.

Edited by justmike, Feb 23 2012, 3:58am :

Virtuon has been doing the cloud desktop thing for a while. They use vmware view client to connect to it. You can download the view client on iphone/ipad/droid and windows/linux/mac. You get a full windows 7 desktop. I'ts awesome I've tried it.

remixedcat said,
Virtuon has been doing the cloud desktop thing for a while. They use vmware view client to connect to it. You can download the view client on iphone/ipad/droid and windows/linux/mac. You get a full windows 7 desktop. I'ts awesome I've tried it.

Yuck. VMWare's desktop apps annoy me. They're all really slow. OnLive definitely does it better.

The tech could work with any source, instead of capturing a game they're now just capturing the desktop.

Which is why the whole "Super fast IE9!" is kinda silly, any browser would behave the same. Hell, Notepad would be super fast if you streamed it over a gigabit connection.

The_Decryptor said,
Which is why the whole "Super fast IE9!" is kinda silly, any browser would behave the same. Hell, Notepad would be super fast if you streamed it over a gigabit connection.

I don't think that's what they mean, lol.

"Streaming" over a gigabit connection wouldn't make much difference unless the end user had a gigabit connection. I think what they are talking about, is that their IE9 has access to a gigabit connection. Notepad isn't a browser, nor can it download things...

Alladaskill17 said,
Very interesting to me, I though OnLive was only games etc. Very cool

Really?

1) Connection. IE9 on the server is going to have a better connection for multiple fetches to obtain the site page content.

2) IE9 graphical rendering is faster than Safari on Windows itself, let alone the speed of Safari on iOS. So a desktop version of IE9 streamed to an iPad would give them a browser that is 50 to 1000 times faster than what they get on their iPad normally. The iPad can render real time video using the GPU faster and easier than it can render web content.

__________________________________________________
IE9 side note, as a point of reference why this would be welcome on the iPad...

One way for WP7 users to demonstrate why they like their phones, is they have iPad or iPhone users open any HTML5 graphically rich page that measures FPS or has a baseline performance score to compare performance...

IE9 on WP7 will usually hold at 30 or 60fps depending on the phone's cap.

On the iPad or the iPhone the user is lucky to get 5 to 20 fps on the same page running the same resolution test. (With many 'graphically' rich pages failing to fully render or will take several minutes to load the graphical assets, as it does not use the Async and layered model that IE9 uses.

The same sites on Android get 5 to sometimes even 25fps on a high end Android tablet running Honeycomb. (Consider the CPU/GPU difference, it is an even more effective demonstration, when a 1st gen Snapdragon Windows Phone can render web content faster.)

For a more dramatic demonstration, there are several graphical RIA (HTML5) sites that a WP7 PHONE will hold better FPS and get a better score than Chrome or Firefox will on an Intel i7 desktop; even with the Firefox/Chrome (even experimental) GPU acceleration features enabled.

When a phone is running a web site faster using IE9 technology than Chrome or Firefox on mid/high end desktop computers, it becomes a bit of a 'wow' moment for people to see.

When a much lower 'powered' phone is running web sites faster than dual-core Android and iPad tablets, it is also a 'wow' moment for people to see.


IE9 on WP7 uses the same code base on the desktop version, so it has GPU accelerated processing, rendering, and composing.

**For test sites, start with some of the Microsoft graphical HTML5 tests at IETestDrive and move on to sites from non and anti-Microsoft sources. Don't put too much thought into 'benchmark' sites, but ones the users can see how fluid the site operates and will give a performance number.

Sites that give HTML5 'scores' or 'benchmarks' often have things like WebGL, and mark down IE9 for not having this feature. However, as security experts are literally 'screaming', WebGL is not a standard, not HTML5 and is highly dangerous, as it can shove direct code through the GPU.

So if a site is giving any HTML5 'scores' or 'tests' and has WebGL as a part of the score, tell them to stop freaking using WebGL, it is not safe, and it is not HTML5 and is not a standard.