Sometimes I’ve been known to back the wrong horse. I think I’m really in the know on something, and come to find out I was way off the mark. Such was the case with Onlive Desktop – the Microsoft Office app for iPad.
I was initially impressed with Onlive, with it’s ability to effectively emulate a windows 7 desktop running office. But it had one huge flaw – an inability to load documents from the iPad into the app. In order to use Onlive you had to upload your docs to their server from something other than an iPad. To make matters worse it was designed to allow you to purchase more space on their server. And the unforgivable sin – if their server was busy you were put in que until someone else logged off! Not very effective for courtroom use. Imagine my shame when I discovered Cloudon, a free app that does all Onlive did and more. What’s worse is that it’s been around longer.
Cloudon doesn’t look like a Windows 7 emulator, but it does allow you to create and edit Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word files. It has all the features of Office such as numbered lists, advanced formatting, and all the standard fonts. So why is it better than Onlive Desktop? Dropbox integration, baby!
All I had to do was give Cloudon access to my Dropbox files upon setup, and I instantly had access to all Office documents in my Dropbox account. You have several options for how your files are displayed, and you don’t have to log in from your desktop and add files. This is such a huge hassle that I can’t recommend Onlive Desktop for any use now. How many times have you needed to make last minute changes to a contract, or access a document in court for editing? You never know what may arise, and being required to have a document preloaded kills Onlive’s utility as an iPad app.
Cloudon just gets it. It leverages your Dropbox storage to provide editing ability for every one of your files. Finally, a nice touch is Cloudon’s ability for you to create folders in Dropbox. Most apps that communicate with the storage giant don’t allow you to alter its contents. It’s a small thing, but coupled with Onlive Desktop’s utter failure to allow for real editing of documents, it’s enough for Cloudon to bury the competition!