The WYSIWYG Android app builder will push Android's numbers past Apple's App Store, and put app development in consumers' hands.
Google announced today a new product called App Inventor that will change the landscape for creating apps for smartphones. Since Android is moving to TV sets and Netbooks, its reach won't be limited to handheld mobile devices either.
The tool isn't just for consumers. Businesses, large and small can now easily create apps for their employees' Android devices without hiring costly developers. Students have been at work testing App Inventor for about a year.
For the past year, we've been testing App Inventor in classrooms around the United States, and we've found that it opens up the world of computer programming to students in new and powerful ways. David Wolber, professor of computer science at the University of San Francisco and part of the initial pilot program, says "students traditionally intimidated by technology are motivated and excited to program with App Inventor." One student from Professor Wolber's class told us: "I used to think that no one could program except CS people. Now, I've made dozens of applications for the Android phone!" Another student, who struggles with dyslexia, was inspired by App Inventor to take more computer science classes and is now learning Python.
From a simple Web interface, App Inventor will now allow people who don't know how to code in Java (Android's app programming language) to create apps for their Android phones.
The video below shows a very simple app being created in a matter of seconds using no code.
Think about how many people started creating web pages when WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) tools became available for every day users who didn't want to have to learn code. This tool will do the same for Android apps.
App Inventor isn't just a glorified HTML editor either. Google gives its users access to the GPS, accelerometers, Social components and other powerful tools. The potential for people to create amazing apps is definitely there to be used.
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