Google is launching a new tool on Monday that lets anyone create an app for Android phones.
Google App Inventor claims to enable non-coders to develop complete, working Android apps by connecting a series of "blocks." Google has been testing App Inventor in schools for a year, reports The New York Times. At the time of writing, App Inventor is only available to those who apply via a form.
It's a smart concept. Not only is the Android Market an open platform for developers (with no approval process, a la Apple's App Store), but now we'll likely see a vast array of specialized apps built by non-developers. This could radically increase the volume of apps in the Market versus the App Store.
The expansion may, of course, come at the cost of quality. We'll see thousands of new Android apps, but will they be of a "cookie cutter" nature, offering very little value? There is, however, an upside in the long term: If App Inventor is so simple that schoolchildren can make apps, some those same children will soon become coders themselves and perhaps choose to develop apps for Android rather than iOS.
Google and Apple are currently in a heated battle to win the hearts and minds of developers. Google, it seems, wants to win over the non-developers too.
What do you think? Is App Inventor a winning play on Google's part?
[img credit: glen edelson]
Reviews: Android, Android Market, App Store, Google
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