updated 10:00 am EDT, Mon July 12, 2010
Google hopes for simple Android development
Google started off the week by launching a beta of App Inventor for Android to attract developers to its platform. The tool uses MIT's Open Blocks to construct apps visually, placing interface elements and linking them to events. No coding is needed, and the system is simple enough that Google expects that high school students could create apps of their own.
Despite the simplicity, App Inventor can access many OS-level features, including GPS positioning, text messaging and tying into services from Amazon and Twitter. The toolset rules out advanced gaming and other media apps, but it would allow navigation and social networking.
The program currently requires sign-ups but is available to use today.
Google's new kit could help attract developers away from the iPhone by making simple apps quick to produce. Apple already has a degree of this with Interface Builder in Xcode, but creating a true app usually still requires a level of programming experience.