Droid apps: Google's attempt to make inventing them a lot easier
Since its release on the T-Mobile G1 in late 2008, Google's Android mobile operating system has been quick to grow up. But despite its rapid maturation as a viable smartphone platform across multiple carriers and hardware, there has always been one area in which Android has been slow to capture gain ground in comparison to Apple's iOS juggernaut: apps.
Apps are the thing that makes a person's smart phone their own. They are what makes my iPhone or Droid mine and your iPhone or Droid yours. And Google's App Inventor for Android is about to make the process of creating apps a whole lot more open to everyone.Announced Monday, Google is now sending beta invitations to the public after about a year of testing the platform.
Google blogs: 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.
As with many of Google's offerings, App Inventor is born of a sort of "What if" mentality of creating something different and releasing it to the general public to see whether it worked. In the case of Gmail and Android, Google was wildly successful. With products like Buzz and Wave, not so much.But putting the ability to create smart phone apps via a simple interface is intriguing. Should it catch on, the Android Market could benefit, and it gives Android users one more level of customization that they otherwise wouldn't have access to unless they are hard core programmers.