Google launches DIY Android application maker anyone can use

Google has tonight launched a new do-it-yourself tool Android application creation tool, called "Google App Inventor for Android", which aims to make it possible for anyone to create an application for their mobile operating system, Android, with no coding experience necessary.

Google says the app will allow "ordinary" people to create applications that do what they want in minutes - with a computer, web browser and Android device the only requirements. There's no SDK to download and no language to learn - virtually eliminating the barriers for many who have toyed with the somewhat daunting idea of making their first application.

The New York Times, which broke the news earlier this evening, says the application has been under development for more than a year, and has been tested in "schools with groups that included sixth graders, high school girls, nursing students and university undergraduates."

Why? Simply because creating an app is as easy as dragging "features" (such as text fields or the capability to interact with system functions including access to contacts or emails) of Android onto a canvas which can then be connected using "blocks" that turn the user interface into a fully-fledged application which can then be installed on Android devices. No coding is required at all - and learning how to use the App inventor takes no time at all (there's already a bunch of tutorials designed to assist).

Google's new App Inventor

But while Google may see this as a way for the Android Marketplace to outrun the pace of growth in Apple's App Store, which currently has more than 200,000 applications compared to Android's almost 100,000, questions have already arisen over the benefit of letting the "ordinary person" create applications with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get program. Apps made using App Inventor are simple at best, and could potentially clog the Android Marketplace with a bunch of useless or badly programmed apps, degrading the quality of the store.

It's also the latest sign that Google truly wants Android to be an open operating system - in direct comparison to Apple, who don't permit such tools for their iOS platform -- the operating system which runs on the iPod Touch and iPhone.

Google is currently taking registrations for those interested (if you're in the education sector, Google are particularly interested your participation) in trying out the beta of App Inventor.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Team Fortress 2 Engineer Update now available

Next Story

TechSpot: Palit and Inno3D GeForce GTX 460 boards reviewed

30 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

stay tuned for my 99 cent fart app, called FartDroid...coming soon!

This is a good idea though, coding for Iphone required learning a new language, this should make it much easier to design apps for android, I can think of a few tools I'd like to have on my phone, both for work, and home (WEP/WPA key database for instance).

SirEvan said,
This is a good idea though, coding for Iphone required learning a new language,

And a Mac. You can't develop for the iPhone without a Mac (or hackintosh)

al1uk said,

And a Mac. You can't develop for the iPhone without a Mac (or hackintosh)


Yeah. I was able to get osx and the development environment to run in a VM on my laptop, but learning to use it when I'm already used to Visual studio, and .net, was pretty hard, so I just gave up. this looks like it'll be much more intuitive, although if just as powerful, we'll have to see.

This is Google's answer to Apple's iTunes and their policies.

I'm very glad that Android's open source community has received this amazing tool.

Power to the people with apps, there will be more horrible apps coming but a few gold stars will seep through it.

If you don't want a bad app, don't download it. There is a reason there is a 5 star rating and comments under the apps you download....
This will be great. It will open up the flood box for good and bad ideas to come out and others to hopefully polish up on those. If there isn't a app out that you have in mind, make it yourself.
There are probably just as many useless apps on apples market as andriods, seeing how apples is much bigger. Their processes of denying apps does not make their store any better.

shakey said,
If you don't want a bad app, don't download it. There is a reason there is a 5 star rating and comments under the apps you download....
This will be great. It will open up the flood box for good and bad ideas to come out and others to hopefully polish up on those. If there isn't a app out that you have in mind, make it yourself.
There are probably just as many useless apps on apples market as andriods, seeing how apples is much bigger. Their processes of denying apps does not make their store any better.

Exactly. I personally will not download an app unless it gets 4+ stars.

techbeck said,

Exactly. I personally will not download an app unless it gets 4+ stars.

Personally I just try them and see what one suits my needs best. To be honest, if you have an unlimited data connection, or are on wifi, you don't really lose much, if you don't like an app you can simply remove it again.

I honestly think that Google should use a few of Apples methods with iTunes. At least Apple filter out the crap. I like the idea of submitting pretty much any application you want but It's starting to become a needle in the hay stack to find anything decent. This app wont help matters...

mileshale said,
I honestly think that Google should use a few of Apples methods with iTunes. At least Apple filter out the crap. I like the idea of submitting pretty much any application you want but It's starting to become a needle in the hay stack to find anything decent. This app wont help matters...

There can be (and there are) more app stores. Maybe someone else can release a 'filtered out' app store.

But I agree, finding well developed applications is not an easy task in the Android Market

mileshale said,
I honestly think that Google should use a few of Apples methods with iTunes. At least Apple filter out the crap. I like the idea of submitting pretty much any application you want but It's starting to become a needle in the hay stack to find anything decent. This app wont help matters...

But Apple don't filter out the crap, that is the problem. A lot of the apps that get rejected are good apps. Apple reject things because they don't follow their stupid design rules, it has nothing to do with the quality of the app.

Subject Delta said,

But Apple don't filter out the crap, that is the problem. A lot of the apps that get rejected are good apps. Apple reject things because they don't follow their stupid design rules, it has nothing to do with the quality of the app.

I was thinking the exact same thing +1
Apple also seem to reject a lot of the competition (*cough*Google Voice)

OMG Google Chrome doesn't recognize the word "Google" ROFL

Yeah that's very nice of Google, wouldn't have expected this. Now if they also would give me a free Android phone

Interesting, might have to check this out. I've been meaning to try out Android development but haven't had the time along with all my other dev work. Anyone know if you can take the generated app and load it into a proper dev environment at a future date? That would be killer.

To allay the fears mentioned above, maybe the market place should be divided to include a section for 'simple' apps generated by tools such as this.

XerXis said,
joy, let the market place overflowing with stupid senseless applications begin

In theory it sounds like a good idea, but I can certainly imagine that you'd end up seeing the amount of useless apps exponentially increase. More fart apps are coming right up.

Berserk87 said,
there will ALWAYS be random/useless applications, but with this tool there will be some more gems be created as well.

Exactly, just look at Youtube, it's overflowing with crappy videos but there are some real gems that probably never would have made such a large audience (or probably would not even have been made) if it wasn't for sites like that to make it so easy to publish your works.

There might be some very creative minds out there that might put a tool like this to good use. What is necessary is a better way to distinguish to good/interesting apps from the crappy ones.

XerXis said,
joy, let the market place overflowing with stupid senseless applications begin
+1 while I'm sure some creative people will manage to get some good apps with that, I'm sure the majority will be horrible

XerXis said,
joy, let the market place overflowing with stupid senseless applications begin

It couldn't be worse than now where 20% of Android apps contain Trojans that steal personal data (passwords, bank accounts, credit card numbers....)