Ina Fried

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RIM Shows PlayBook’s Gaming Abilities, But Stays Mum on Android Support

Research In Motion is using this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to give programmers a glimpse of the tools that can be used to write high-end games for its forthcoming PlayBook tablet.

On Thursday, the company plans to give a “sneak peek” of the developer kit that will allow for the creation of native applications, as opposed to those written in Flash or HTML5. RIM has shared the native tools thus far with just a small group of developers, including Electronic Arts, which has a PlayBook version of the Need For Speed car racing game that will come preloaded on the PlayBook when it goes on sale later this month.

In allowing programmers to write in native code as well as HTML5, Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR, RIM is hoping to reach a wide swath of developers.

“We are remaining flexible and enabling you to build in the technologies you want to build in,” RIM Vice President Tyler Lessard told Mobilized on Tuesday.

However, despite video evidence, Lessard declined to comment specifically on rumors the company would really open things up and enable Android applications to run on the device.

“No, we have not ourselves announced that we are going to be supporting Android apps or anything like that,” Lessard said. At the same time, he added that the company is always looking at ways it can open its products up to more types of developers.

“We’re looking at everything that is happening in the market,” he said. “We want to come to where the developers are and not force them to adopt different technologies just to get on to our platform.”

In a short demo, Lessard showed a number of games running on the tablet including Need For Speed and a kids game featuring Elmo from “Sesame Street.”

The native development tools should be broadly available to developers in beta form soon, Lessard said.

“We wanted to show a glimpse at what we’ve got today,” he said.