Tablets have gained massive popularity over the past couple of years due to their ability to consume content, their portability, and ease of use. The explosion of all sorts of different apps has added even more functionality, offering users a myriad of software from games to social networking tools and everything in between.

Until now though, it is fair to say tablets have never been the best option for those needing access to certain productivity software and Office based applications. Video gaming streaming service OnLive hopes to finally change that by offering iPad users full access to Windows applications from the cloud, starting with a basic Office suite from Microsoft that includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

OnLive founder and CEO Steve Perlman believes the experience will be similar to using a high performance PC on their iPad.The OnLive Desktop app will be available for free from Apple's iTunes App Store from January 12. Essentially the new app acts as a remote-desktop client using available Windows 7 desktops hosted on OnLive's cloud servers.

OnLive Desktop is the first app to deliver a no-compromise, media-rich Windows desktop experience to iPad, opening up powerful new possibilities for consumers and businesses. iPad users will now be able to simply and securely view and edit cloud-hosted documents with full-featured Windows desktop applications like Microsoft Office, just as if they were using a local high-performance PC. Multi-touch gestures respond instantly and smoothly, while HD videos, animations and PC video games-never before usable on a remote desktop-play seamlessly.

Users will be required to create an account with OnLive, which will come with 2GB of online storage, as well as fully functioning Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint applications. Also included will be touch based games and several other utilities.

Those who require more storage, priority access and the ability to add further applications such as Photoshop or Autodesk will be able to purchase OnLive Desktop Pro, with a monthly cost of $9.99 that includes 50GB of cloud storage. 

The company also has Android support in the works and plans to offer it for tablets running Google's mobile OS in the very near future.