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OnLive demos Internet Explorer and Flash on an iPad

by Pete Mason on 8 December 2010, 15:46

Tags: iPad, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), OnLive

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa3h6

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OnLive may be best known for its online PC game streaming service, but the company has plans that go far beyond running Crysis on a netbook. Talking at the Dive Into Mobile conference yesterday, CEO Steve Perlman showed some of the things that his company is working on and gave a glimpse into where it might all be heading.

Apparently gaming - with its exceptionally low tolerance for latency - is by far the most difficult use of OnLive's technology, so moving other applications onto the service is a relatively easy next step.

The first demonstration had Perlman using the recently launched OnLive viewer for the iPad to connect to a virtualised Windows 7 computer running Internet Explorer on a Flash heavy site. He then showed a Samsung Galaxy Tab that was 'spectating' the same site in real time. The entire process was very smooth with barely any lag, despite the heavy lifting being handled by a computing cluster some 50 miles away.

For the next demo, the CEO connected to a system running Maya - a high-end 3D modelling tool. The software - which can only be run on very powerful workstations and supercomputers - allowed Perlman to seamlessly navigate and edit a detailed model in real-time from his iPad with only a lightweight streaming app installed. And while the smartphone running Android could only spectate and chat at this point, future versions of the software will allow real-time collaboration between users on different devices.

As impressive as OnLive's demos were - and they were very impressive - they were blown out of the water by the company's aspirations for the future. Perlmann sees the platform as a gateway towards ubiquitous and collaborative computing through low-power devices. Provided they have an internet connection - be it 4G, WiFi or wired - anyone has the potential to use high-performance computers running expensive software from anywhere in the world and for a relatively low price.

Although he was coy on the prospect, Perlmann also hinted that the company might get into movie streaming, with the platform enabling a greater level of interactivity than is currently available with streaming services.

Obviously OnLive is a relatively small company and these sorts of lofty goals are still a long way off. Nonetheless, the already mature technology platform is bound to impress when application streaming eventually launches. For now, iPad owners will have to make do with spectating games on the recently launched viewer app.



HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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One use for this techonology I can see is having a low-power netbook and a decent desktop at home, and using it to essentially (but more streamlined) RDP into the main computer and use its speed and functionality on the go. Obviously internet services would have to be up to speed.

I remain reluctant to embrace cloud computing though.
Someone mentioned this previously on the forum, but it's a good point so I'll say it again:

We're going full circle back to a dumb client + mainframe computing system. Albeit without green screens and wires, but I can't really see the benefit of going this way…
Well I can see reasons for many people, who aren't worried about data confidentiality and don't understand the importance of or can't afford to back up - their data will be safer for them on a remote server. Then add in convenience of access anywhere, and no need to upgrade hardware for gamers, and it could become quite an attractive proposition - for those who do not need data confidentiality, and do not want the hassle of managing their data themselves.

For many enthusiasts, it will be a service not touched with a barge pole, but for other folk, it's really not that big a deal. Offline connectivity problems can be solved by having, for example, a virtual drive which is synced to the cloud with data on - but stored locally, and I'm sure there are much more elegant solutions to these problems than I can think of in two minutes.
jimbouk
Someone mentioned this previously on the forum, but it's a good point so I'll say it again:

We're going full circle back to a dumb client + mainframe computing system. Albeit without green screens and wires, but I can't really see the benefit of going this way…

I mostly feel the same way, but I thought what Eric Schmidt said yesterday about Chrome OS was really interesting. He basically said we're going back to thin-clients (which he was a big part of in the 90s at Sun). While it wasn't really feasible then, we now have wildly powerful supercomputers (and terminals, relatively speaking) and very fast network speeds that make it much more practical.

And why would you not want to leverage the incredible power of a cluster/cloud somewhere else? Sure the network could go down, or the server could break or the sun could explode, but we're so reliant on the internet in general, we pretty much grind to halt when we lose our connection anyway.

So my question is, if you have a vastly superior amount of computing power on tap, what's the benefit of relying on the PC in your own home/office?
BullDogg
So my question is, if you have a vastly superior amount of computing power on tap, what's the benefit of relying on the PC in your own home/office?

Because they're under your control.

With this, you're not only relying on your own connectivity, but unbroken connectivity to OnLive or whoever.

Still, it is interesting. I'm intrigued and worried about the next 10-15 years equally.