UPDATED: What if you could easily build an app that does exactly what you want and fits your needs exactly? That’s what App Inventor, coming soon from Google, brings to the Android screen. What makes App Inventor unique is that it requires no programming skills to build your apps. You use the onscreen designer to build the app screen just like you want, and then add functionality to the various components using simple point and click.
According to Google, apps built with App Inventor can access all Android services available to “real” developers, such as GPS. Your apps can access external services like Twitter, too. The offering looks to make developers out of regular users, complete with tutorials to get them going.
Update: App Inventor comes at a time when Android apps and iOS apps for the Apple platform are going head to head. One of the biggest weaknesses of the Android platform is Android Market, which is hard to search and is cluttered with junky apps. Google may be trying to encourage people to create their own as a means to draw in new users with something Apple’s App Store won’t offer, although the audience it attracts are likely tech-savvy geeks that the Android platform already appeals to.
Access to App Inventor requires filling out a form online, with the ability to build apps coming in just a few weeks. Google has included some sample apps that give budding developers some inspiration. App Inventor will work on Linux, Windows or Macs and with most web browsers.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Google’s Mobile Strategy