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App Inventor: Build Your Own Android Apps

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, (s goog) 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 (s aapl) 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

10 Responses to “App Inventor: Build Your Own Android Apps”

  1. I think this is primarily a teaching tool, at least that is how it has been used. But this also reminds me of how Hypercard on the Mac empowered users (back when Apple was focused more in beating big brother than being big brother). There were some pretty sophisticated things done with Hypercard. I look forward to see what this new tool enables.

  2. doctor-don

    Maybe this will enable us to consolidate ‘key presses’ to determine status / attributes relating to our phones. That could be a real time-saver.

  3. This certainly looks to be a great service from Google. Though I don’t have much knowledge on Android and related topics yet I think that this service will surely make Google more and more popular among those who use Android based smartphones. Really nice initiative from Google.

  4. i knew James wouldnt mention that this is a direct copy out of Palms playbook.

    not even a little acknowledgement “similar to what Palm is doing with it’s…”

    couldnt give Palm even a little love if it came at the cost of belittling Android even a bit.

  5. Oh, our short memories. This has everything to do with boosting the number of apps for Android, the one hard metric where Apple beats Google. This reminds me of the megahertz wars that the to the Pentium 4 marketechtural disaster at Intel: customers need some metric, and if the industry offers one, however irrelevant, it just works to drive sales.

  6. I hope apps that are built with this App Inventor can be put directly in the creator’s phone, that apps doesn’t have to go thorough the Android market to be used. That’s one thing about Android- apps don’t need Google approval to be put on Android phones.

  7. coolrepublica

    This would have been a better idea if it just allowed regular people to create apps for themselves, for their own phones, instead of clogging the android market with what may well be just crappy apps.

    We all think we are geniuses, but the reality is far from the truth.