OnLive brings cloud-based gaming to phones & tablets

Cloud-based gaming company OnLive is taking another big step in its evolution, with the launch of apps for mobile phones and handsets that will turn them into gaming devices. By introducing apps for iOS and Android (s goog) devices, users will now be able to play even high-quality games on devices that have a fraction of the processing power included in most high-end gaming PCs.

OnLive let users watch streams of others gaming through tablet apps in the past, but the newest apps take the experience a step further: OnLive users will now be able to natively play games on devices like the iPhone, (s AAPL) iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Amazon (s AMZN) Kindle Fire through a new generation of apps.

The gaming service will have more than 20 games specifically adapted for tablet-based touch control, including Rockstar’s hit L.A. Noire, with virtual game pads built in. It will have an additional 150 games that users can play if they have an OnLive Universal Wireless Controller, which sells for $49.99.

OnLive’s latest release makes gaming more accessible to users — even those who don’t have gaming consoles or high-powered computing equipment. Because gameplay is processed in the cloud and streamed over the Internet, devices need just a limited amount of power to enable engaging gaming experiences.

Those streams are also relatively low-bandwidth, with the average bandwidth required for TV or PC gaming about 1 Mbps to 5 Mbps, which isn’t much different from watching an HD movie on Netflix. (s NFLX) Streams sent to mobile devices are even lower bandwidth, at about 0.5 to 2 Mbps. As a result, it works on Wi-Fi, 4G LTE and even 3G networks.

With the launch of its new mobile apps, OnLive is now available on TVs, PCs and Macs, and a wide range of mobile devices. The company launched its services about a year ago in the U.S. Since then, the company has expanded to the U.K. and added more than 200 video game titles for users to choose from.