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HTC Flyer tablet to offer OnLive game streaming service

HTC's new Flyer tab will make use of OnLive's game-streaming service, allowing users to play games on their tablet that would normally require a much more powerful computer.

The new HTC Flyer tablet will be the first mobile device to support OnLive's game-streaming service, the company bragged today at Mobile World Congress. OnLive probably won't have launched in the UK by the time the Flyer lands here, but when it does you'll be able to play cutting-edge PC and console games on your tablet over the Internet.

HTC's recent investment in OnLive, to the tune of $40m, led us to speculate on the forthcoming application of cloud-based game streaming in HTC's phones. We weren't expecting something concrete so soon.

At the moment, OnLive is only in North America, where it enables people with low-powered computers to stream the best-looking new games direct from OnLive's farm of high-powered gaming computers. The company wants to launch in the UK and Europe later this year, and has received investment from BT.

By integrating this service into its tablet, HTC is enabling users to stream rather than download games, meaning that much higher quality games can be played on the Android 2.4 device. Alternatively, these games can be streamed through the tablet to a TV, allowing the tablet to be used as a controller. HTC told us the service will be accessed in the same way as the Flyer's preloaded movie store (pictured above).

The HTC Flyer is a promising tablet in other respects too, with a lightweight, attractive body, a 1.4GHz processor and front and rear cameras. HTC's decision to equip the Flyer with Android 2.4 Gingerbread -- rather than 3.0 Honeycomb, which is designed specifically for tablets -- left us slightly baffled. HTC's Sense software is very good, however, and the company promises a Honeycomb update will be made available in the future. 

See how the Flyer stacks up against the tablet competition in our hands-on photo gallery and read more in our full in-depth preview here.