Say hello to Nivio, the first online desktop

The steady rise and rise of broadband around the world is spurring the take-up of software-as-a-service or Internet rentware, as it used to be called.

There are now large numbers of Netters who use their software across the Internet, meaning they either pay by the hour to use the package, or, more often, get access to a variety of applications in return for a fixed monthly fee.

And now there's Nivio, the world's first Windows based online desktop, which was launched in New Delhi late last week.

The service allows secure global access to a personal virtual desktop from any Internet connected device providing users with complete freedom (it says here...).

The gameplan is that Internet users can securely access any of their required applications and files from almost any Internet device anywhere in the world.

Although aimed at the Asian sub-continent, as I understand it, there's nothing to stop a UK punter signing up for the service, which costs around £7.99 a month and gives Netters online access to MS-Office applications, 5 GB of online storage and a variety of other software. Students also get the service at half price.

The package deal - which is available on 30 days free trial - also gives users access to a Windows XP desktop, which could be useful if, for example, you are accessing the Internet using a Linux terminal and need a Windows XP facility.

Confused? I was initially, but Nivio, which uses SSL for Web-based security, looks an interesting taste of the future...