iPads are the tablets of choice for most people these days. An increasing amount of regular and business users alike rely on Apple’s impressive device. This is not to say that there is nothing missing from the tablet though. Among the most notable omissions are Windows and the host of apps and productivity tools that come along with it. People are used to working with apps from the Microsoft Office Suite such as Word, PowerPoint etc. and these are often missed. To run Office, a Windows tablet is required. The catch with these is that though they run the full range of the mainstream office apps the tablets themselves are, as yet, incomparable with the iPad.
Fortunately there is a way around this conundrum. Ways, actually. We’ve compiled a list of potential solutions which allow you to run Windows (and therefore all the useful software that comes along with it) right on your iPad:
Originally a gaming service, OnLive used their powerful servers to stream Windows directly to your iPad. Originally the Windows 7 desktop was streamed, but a licensing dispute with Microsoft has led OnLive to switch to Windows Server 2008 R2 instead. Where the original was immensely impressive and there was negligible lag between touch and response, the change has not been overly impressive and users have reported disappointment with it. Still, it does get you Windows on your iPad.
OnLive has three versions. OnLive Desktop is perfectly free and is suitable for people who only wish to use the Microsoft Office Suite. OnLive Desktop Plus costs $4.99 and brings the addition of Adobe Flash-otherwise not supported on any iDevice- and Internet Explorer 9 running on powerful servers with it. OnLive Desktop pro, still in the works, provides an additional 50 GB of storage.
Originally only for the iPad, OnLive Desktop later became available for Android tablets as well.
Just this week, Splashtop released Win8 Metro Testbed. The app is originally intended for developers who wish to write and test apps for future Windows 8 tablets but don’t have a Windows tablet currently, and aren’t particularly interested in getting one either. The app basically allows developers who have coded and compiled Windows 8 Metro apps on a PC running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to then stream and test them on their iPad- on a simulated Windows 8 environment. A special promotion is ongoing so the app is available at half-price currently, meaning you can get it for $24.99 instead of $49.99.
To see how you can get Splashtop’s Win8 Metro Testbed, follow this link.
Another global cloud computing company, Nivio primarily aims to provide ubiquitous access to Microsoft Windows. Its flagship offering is nDesktop. It affords access to a cloud-based Windows desktop from practically any device, including your iPad. Users can access the service via a downloadable client, a standard browser or through an HTML5 based Web client. A drawback to this service is some of the limitations that it has. Video playback, gaming and even webcams are not supported yet. However, the company claims to be working on such additional features. The virtual desktop that Nivio offers does not run executable files either. Free storage (10 GB) is offered, and files can be accessed from practically anywhere. Still, the service is cheap compared to other similar services; nDesktop plans start at a mere $2.
Citrix has been around in the virtual desktop market since a long time now. With its Citrix Receiver tools, it brings Windows to your iPad. The client aims to provide a consistent computing system across all platforms. The client is available for download from the Apple App Store. Windows on Android is also supported.
One of the first to offer a Windows on Mac solution, Parallels was unsurprisingly also amongst the first to come out with a Windows on iPad client. The Parallels Mobile App lets iPad users access Windows apps from any Mac that is running Windows via the Parallels Desktop Client. The app enables your iPad to run flash as well as Outlook and Explorer. Cut-and-paste actions between mobile devices and Windows apps are conveniently supported.
The app is available from the App Store for $19.99.
A 3-tier data center on Molten Technologies’ segregated network provides virtual desktop services for businesses. Among offered services is Windows for iPad as well. Customers get to choose and control firewall and security settings.