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Once logged into OnLive Desktop, you'll see a familiar Windows desktop, complete with Office 2010. The screenshot below shows the OnLive Desktop with on-screen keyboard. Files created in Microsoft Office are saved to your OnLive instance Documents folder and nearly immediately available for cloud access on other machines via the OnLive Desktop site.

OnLive Desktop screen
Figure 3: OnLive Desktop screen

You might note that OnLive Desktop uses a keyboard built into the desktop vs. the native tablet keyboard,which other apps such as RDP use. This will take some getting used to if you are accustomed to your tablet keyboard. I found it to be not nearly as ergonomically friendly as the iPad's keyboard, the comparison picture below will show why.

OnLive Desktop keyboard comparison to tablet keyboard
Figure 4: OnLive Desktop keyboard (upper) comparison to tablet keyboard within RDP (lower)

Note the larger size of the iPad keys within RDP vs, the definitely smaller size of the keys within OnLive Desktop. With the iPad keyboard, I feel like I can type very closely to the same speed as a normal keyboard. But with the Onlive Desktop keyboard, I felt like I was making a lot of errors and getting a little frustrated.

It is nice that OnLive included function keys like Tab and Ctrl in the same positions as a real keyboard. But the end result has a cramped feel. I feel the function keys in the RDP example keyboard above make for a much better user experience. Overall, OnLive's keyboard felt more like a smartphone keyboard.

Text boxes also took a little getting used to. The keyboard won't pop up automatically when you click in text boxes. Instead, a little keyboard icon pops up that you click on to bring up the on-screen keyboard. If you use the keyboard icon, things like text highlighting are retained. If you highlight text and then bring up the keyboard via the keyboard on the taskbar, highlighting is lost.

A Getting Started icon walks you through some of the gestures used for typical mouse actions, shows you how to sync documents and access files and lets you know that Windows settings are not changed from session to session. The walk-through of the touch gestures is not a hands-on tutorial example, but rather just an explanation of how to use the different gestures.

OnLive Desktop Getting Started screen
Figure 5: OnLive Desktop Getting Started screen

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