Google App Inventor for Android Opens App Development to Everyone

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Google is opening up Android development to the masses with App Inventor for Android. The new development environment enables non-programmers to create apps for Google's mobile device operating system by putting together different provided components. Google's move comes amid a competitive mobile development market that includes Apple iPhone, HP WebOS and the coming Microsoft Phone 7.

Google is opening up Android development to the masses with App Inventor for Android, a new development environment beta program that does not require coding or knowledge of development languages.

Google introduced the tool at the App Inventor for Android site, which includes a video demonstration, tutorials and a way for users to sign up to become part of the developer program.

Non-programmers can develop their own Android apps by putting together components of functionality.

While many view Android-based smartphones as consumer devices, Cisco recently gave the Android operating system a vote of confidence for business and enterprise environments by announcing that it will offer its Cisco Cius tablet computer running Android, not Windows 7 or another OS.

Cisco’s Cius Tablet: 10 Ways It Beats Apple’s iPad for Business

App Inventor for Android could potentially enable workgroups within businesses to create their own apps.

Google posted examples of initial apps built using the environment, most created by University of San Francisco students. Samples included an app to help people remember where they parked their cars and an app that provides a schedule for the San Francisco public transit system.

In the sample section, Google also lists the components used to create each particular app. For example, the ParkIt App uses Button, HorizontalArrangement, Label, TinyWebDB, ActivityStarter and LocationSensor.

The move by Google to open up Android App development to the masses is something that could pose a greater competitive challenge to Apple’s iPhone, HP’s WebOS and eventually Microsoft Phone 7. But early criticism of the move by Google noted that as development is opened to everyone, chances are that the Android App market will be flooded by many junk applications.

Those who want to participate in the beta program of App Inventor for Android must sign up with Google at the App Inventor site.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com