Google Labs has just launched something called the App Inventor which allows non-developers to quickly build up simple applications for Android devices.
It simplifies the app development process by allowing users quickly build up an application without much programming knowledge. The application gives you a screen to drag and drop items like images, and buttons for your application on a screen. You can also program actions on these items by using things called ‘blocks’ to define their behavior. This makes the process of developing application a process of just dragging and dropping stuff on the screen, and you don’t need to know one bit of programming. It’s not just limited to the simple stuff, the App Inventor does give access to the advanced features on the phone like the GPS, accelerometer sensors and more. Is this Google’s way of increasing the number of application on the Android Market to beat the numbers on iPhone App Store?
The App Inventor team has created blocks for just about everything you can do with an Android phone, as well as blocks for doing “programming-like” stuff– blocks to store information, blocks for repeating actions, and blocks to perform actions certain conditions. There are even blocks to talk to services like Twitter.
If you are interested in finding out more about App Inventor, check out their site appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/. They’ve not yet opened access to all, and you need a Google account to request for access. You can look around their documentation section while you wait for them to grant you access.
Here’s a video showing how the App Inventor works, by creating an Android application in under a minute: