I was surprised to learn that an app exists for the iPad that allows you to run a virtual version of Windows on the device. Now there is a competitor! Unlike OnLive, CloudOn prefers to hide all that ugliness that is the Windows user interface. CloudOn provides access to your files, the apps you use the most, and the ability to collaborate.
Instead of making the iPad into a virtual Windows desktop, CloudOn masks the filesystem and other apps to deliver an Office-only experience. You want Word, you get Word — and nothing else. This no-distractions, one app at a time model can track closer to the native iPad experience of “app immersion.” While the lack of native copy/paste and autocorrect does slow things down a bit, I found that I could be pretty effective while typing into CloudOn’s apps, especially with a Bluetooth external keyboard.
Last week I met with Milind Gadekar, the CEO and founder of CloudOn, and got to hear a bit of his company’s vision for the future of distributed work. He told me that his team forsees a continuing fragmentation of the computing landscape, with multiple OS platforms and devices talking to multiple storage providers. The way to enable productivity, he suggested, is to provide a functional nexus of three key components: your files, your apps and your collaborators.