CloudOn and OnLive Desktop – cloudy MS Office for iPad

The new year continues to delight iPad owners with new interesting applications. Today we will talk about two cloud applications at once that allow you to use the full-featured Microsoft Office on the iPad.

The palm belongs to the CloudOn application, which appeared in December last year, but was withdrawn from the App Store due to flaws. The second, this time the successful release of the application in the App Store took place on January 5th. Despite the fact that CloudOn appeared first, it is clearly inferior in popularity to the competing development from the well-known company OnLive. Announced at CES 2012, OnLive Desktop has already settled on the # XNUMX Top Free Apps list in the App Store.

Let’s see what the developers of both applications offer and how convenient it is to use such an office. I suggest starting with the CloudOn app. Unfortunately, at the moment the app is only available for US and Canadian iTunes account holders. The idea from the developers is to integrate the cloud office with your Dropbox account. The first time you start, you need to go through a simple registration process and provide your Dropbox account information.

The main screen of the application is reserved for a kind of file manager in which all files and folders from your Dropbox account are located. The top three buttons of the application are reserved for control in CloudOn. With their help, you can change the view of the file manager at your discretion, access the settings, as well as create new Word, Excel and Power Point files.

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The apps look pretty familiar to Windows users. The standard keyboard has been extended to work with the office suite. Thus, you have at your disposal the keys F1-F12, Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Tab, Esc, Del and arrows, so that working with documents will be quite convenient. The application supports autosave, so in the event of an interruption to the Internet, you will not lose the information you were working on.

The speed of CloudOn directly depends on the speed of your Internet and the current load on the company’s servers. Unfortunately, in view of the extreme inferiority of my provider, I cannot talk about how comfortable it is to work with the application, but for viewing and minor edits of documents, working with CloudOn is quite comfortable, although it leaves much to be desired.

Among the shortcomings, I could note the somewhat gaudy appearance of the application, or rather the file manager; lack of CloudOn in the Russian App Store; as well as some inhibition of work with documents. As for the support of other countries, an official release date has not yet been planned, but the developers assure that work in this direction is already underway.

The OnLive Desktop app offers a slightly different approach to working with cloud-based Ofiice on your iPad. Similar to CloudOn, on first launch you need to register or enter your existing OnLive account details. The application works on the basis of VMware virtualization. Thus, you get access not only to the office suite, but also to the limited version of Windows. Of course, there is no need to talk about a full-fledged operating system, but in addition to the office suite, there are some standard Windows applications, such as Media Player, WordPad, Paint and some others.

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Synchronization in OnLive Desktop is less convenient than in CloudOn. To work with the service, you will use a browser-based file manager for both uploading and downloading files, there are no other ways of data exchange yet.

The OnLive Desktop app is free, just like the basic account. Of course, a free account has a number of restrictions, but they are not significant. Firstly, you will only get 2 gigabytes of cloud storage, and secondly, your connection speed priority will be lower than that of paid accounts. By the way, in this application, the connection speed is also a weak point. The developers say that the minimum required 1 Mbps, 1,5-2 Mbps is recommended, but seven times the speed is still not enough to work without delays. Application servers do not always cope with the load, so you will periodically see messages that the servers are overloaded and you need to wait a little. Another weak point of the application is the lack of the ability to switch keyboard layouts, at least I could not find such a possibility.

At the moment it is difficult to say which application is the best. Of course, OnLive Desktop has more perspectives, but I liked CloudOn a little more due to the more convenient synchronization, because of the ability to work with a standard keyboard and slightly less demanding Internet speed.

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