OnLive Desktop may have stumbled upon the best way to get Flash content on an iPad: host the CPU-hungry tech on a server as far away as possible from your tablet, and simply stream over the results. In an update to the OnLive Desktop remote access app, first released last month, OnLive Desktop Plus adds gigabit-speed accelerated browsing with full Adobe Flash support, delivering what the company says isn't just the fastest full-browsing experience when mobile, but the fastest experience on any platform.
"You can expect even the most elaborate Flash websites to load in seconds, even if it would have taken your home computer minutes to load the same page" OnLive CEO Steve Perlman promises. "Animation, video and sound come through impeccably and instantly. And, large cloud storage files and Web email attachments—even 50 MB PowerPoint presentations—to upload or download in less than a second."
Apple has always strongly defended its decision not to allow Flash on its iOS devices, blaming Adobe for never releasing a version of the software that's efficient and streamlined enough to meet with iPad and iPhone owners' approval. Adobe seemingly agreed, and announced it would cease development of mobile Flash efforts and instead concentrate on HTML5.
Still, even with HTML5 gaining traction, there's still plenty of Flash-based content out there on the internet. Some is simply video and gloss, but other sites use Flash-based UIs that render them impossible to navigate on an iOS gadget. That's what OnLive Desktop Plus will help address, and the company says that because it's servers are running all the Flash content and merely pushing on-screen changes to your device, your bandwidth use might actually decrease.
All of that comes at a price, however. Unlike the original OnLive Desktop service, which is free, Desktop Plus will demand a $4.99 monthly subscription. That does at least get you access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Reader, along with 2GB of cloud-based storage to use.
Meanwhile, OnLive has promised that a version of OnLive Desktop for Android tablets is "coming soon," along with Android smartphones, PCs and Macs, and even monitors and TVs hooked up via an OnLive MicroConsole thin client.