Google's New Android App Inventor Opens New Avenue for Developers

Updated Niki_Fears 2 Tallied Votes 408 Views Share

Google has been attempting to break out of their search engine based box for quite some time by presenting challenges to some of the IT world's biggest names such as Microsoft and Apple. Now with the new App Inventor that Google has launched for Android it is giving developers more incentive to use their platform, giving the iPhone's developmental platform a run for its money. Today's launch of the Android App Inventor came after a year long effort of Google's development team to put users in the driver's seat.

This app development tool received wide spread exposure this weekend when the New York Times featured the App Inventor in its Technology section. Boasting claims that cell phones such as the Android are the computers of choice in today's world it only makes sense, says Google, that users have access to the tools that allow them to easily create their own applications for the devices they they are relying on. While this claim may be a bit a overstated as laptops and PC's are in no danger of being completely replaced by cell phones any time in the near future, the access provided by this new app creator could, none the less, be big news for game developers by allowing an influx of new developers to make a splash in the world of mobile game and app development.

How Does it Work?

Instead of relying on complicated lines of code, Google's App Inventor utilizes a simpler integrated development environment that is very reminiscent to that of Visual Basic which was released by Microsoft a few decades ago.

What Does This Mean for Developers

At this point it seems that the App Inventor will be best utilized for creating basic, simple types of games for the Android which in and of itself might not really mean much to the mobile development community, other than perhaps a nice and easy diversion for those wishing to take a break from more complex development and revisit some of their object oriented programming skills; however, there are a few upsides and downsides for developers to consider.

The Upside:

Because the Google App Inventor will require fewer technical skills it is designed to allow newer, less experienced developers to easily enter the game creation world and develop simple applications for the Android audience. This gives game and app developers access to a larger market which means great exposure for them and their development endeavors. Whether Apple will follow up on this or simply pursue other venues for competition is yet to be seen; however, this could also lead to a further opening of the market for independent game development teams.

The App Inventor not only allows for more users to access the utilities to create more apps and games but it also cuts down on development time which can help to make creators more efficient and give them an edge to beat their competitors on other platforms to market.

The Downside:

Unfortunately the ease of use which is the upside of the App Inventor is also Google's downside. By allowing for such a low entry point into the developmental realm, Google runs the risk of having an influx of simple, yet meaningless games (and other apps) which could result in an over load of apps, thus making it difficult for users to find what they want. This could mean that serious developers could easily get lost in the pile of new games and tools much in the same way that Google apps for the web has resulted in dozens of simple, random games and meaningless apps muddling higher quality choices.

The issue of quantity verses quality is one that Google's competitors will have to consider carefully, so we may see others following suit to offer easy, widely accessible app creator tools for the masses, or they may instead choose to take the technological high ground to allow for fewer game creators to enter the market but keeping the standard higher so that what we do see will be the result of a higher quality mobile experience.

Nick Evan commented: Best 1st post ever +15
Nick Evan 4,005 Industrious Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

It sounds like a good toy for the beginning developer, but from what I've seen it's too limited to create any really good apps/games. Nevertheless, Google has come up with a nice idea to attract more developers to Android, so it's popularity will surely rise again.

Dcurvez 0 Junior Poster in Training

I think it is dangerous and needless
I think it will take away from the serious developers and the industry
there are already tooo many people that take the experience of developing and use it for destuctive viruses..that is only kept on a leash by the extent of knowledge that it is needed to develop applications
if you make it easy enough for the common user to are opening up that gate even more..this path is only going to help the computer techs in this world..not the developers...

thesisavenue 0 Newbie Poster

Wow that good Idea

vaultdweller123 32 Posting Pro

all hail to google! :)

popin 0 Light Poster

I think it is dangerous and needless
I think it will take away from the serious developers and the industry
there are already tooo many people that take the experience of developing and use it for destuctive viruses..that is only kept on a leash by the extent of knowledge that it is needed to develop applications
if you make it easy enough for the common user to are opening up that gate even more..this path is only going to help the computer techs in this world..not the developers...

i disagree i mean sure its going to open the door for a few more cracker (or black hat hackers or whatever their being called these days) but its also going to bring a lot of people into development who just want to make their idea's come to life (even in a little way). If you look at visual basic its spawned everything from developers who made their first line of code with it to people like my girl friend who knows virtually nothing about computers but can use Vb templates and forums to personalize her blog.

I think the good outweighs the bad and as for the one's that are going to turn into virus programmers they could do that without something this simple i remember my graduate class there where people crashing state of the art computers within weeks of the first lecture, if their determined they find a way to stuff things up anyway.

Dcurvez 0 Junior Poster in Training

well, that is true Popin..where there is a will, there is a way..for sure!

I understand the need for this industry to get out of the old as it is stagnant..and the people want something different, so I do understand the urgency to feed the need.

Just seems kinda strange to me to take a "respected field" and put it out there for the common user.

this whole idea has 2 sides to the coin...
it will open doors for new developers on the one side
but on the other side, in the long run..I see it as degrading the industry. Not in degrading as in "bringing the industry down"..but as in,,, our field no longer will no longer be "a special breed"

developers will be a dime a dozen.

so, in order to prevent that from happening, the developers will have to get really really imaginative with their the point of no longer following the "Microsoft Path",,but actually becoming leaders in Ideas..

I am not scared of that, myself, as I am very imaginative..but, with so much new technology, applications, yadda yadda yadda..that is happening today..where does it all end? Where is the point at where all of these new things/apps are gonna become stagnant as they are now? and how in the heck are we going to feed the need when the need is so high.

LOL..i remember when "Microsoft Money" (lol) was the thing to have! it was the top line!
now..if you dont have a phone that texts/takes pictures/records/and hits the net...LOL..your a relic!! hehheheeeee

and it doesnt stop just a phone!

anyway, maybe all I think is out of fear, but SOMEONE has to TRY to protect the industry.

making it easy for the common user to make their own "buttons" is just the is gonna start a fire that once again is gonna have to be fueled in the very near how are we gonna accomplish that..

sheesh with all the new toys out today, all the new apps..isnt there another way to improve on those without yet adding more to the pot??


popin 0 Light Poster

lol my parents still cling to their Microsoft money logging everything by hand on an unconnected computer in the spare room, if they've spent a penny in the last 20 im sure they could reason what on and why.

as for the lowering of the threshold of the developer world it worries me too so i get what your saying but i honestly don't think anyone can stop it, its just the misfortune (and brilliant thing in my eyes) of working in a half baked industry computers aren't done evolving by a long shot yet i mean look at apples i phone and app's nearly anyone can download the SDK and with some time and confidence can produce something they think the phone needs which could hit it lucky and make them a millionaire developer.

i think its just the next step and to be honest id rather have a challenging developer's job creating a new quantum computer program or something than be paid to personalize 1000 off peoples blogs. (tho atm id take that job 2)

you do have a point and from my own end wanting a job that is secure and respected in the industry i agree but i think the way social use of computing is growing we can't afford to leave everything up to experts ironically theirs just not enough of us

Niki_Fears 15 Newbie Poster

I think there are important points on both sides which means I am still divided on this issue. While I understand the great appeal for those who want to get into development, I do worry that it will only result in app overload with a million useless apps out there which just makes it more difficult for users to find what they want and that more serious efforts will get lost in the shuffle....I guess only time will tell.

Dcurvez 0 Junior Poster in Training

yes, Popin you are right. and really, there isnt anything we can really do about it.
we are far from the end of the line in the developer world for sure!

I guess my fears and bleak look at this is because there really hasnt been any discussion as to how are they gonna control this, and what kind of security are they going to implement this with.

the drain is already soppped up..thus the 3.5/4.0 framework. How are they planning to keep this under wraps. the drain is already backed up LOL..

I thought about this all night, this security/standard issue, and the only thing I could come up with is maybe if a program was made, or people were hired..

lets say you make an app..even so much as a freakin button(which by the way, what is going around now are download buttons that are disquised as play buttons...) but anyway, you make an app..maybe there should be a program that you HAVE to submit this "button" or App to..and it checks it..makes sure that it is clean and non malicious. if it checks out, then the app..or button will get a green light and become useable, if it is not right..the app or button will not be useable, lets see if this is possible.

Microsoft has alot of set standards, and the way to make this happen..maybe they should look into this?

It is a good thing to let the people feed themselves for a bit, but it should be done with caution. you cant just say "hey, we are running out of ideas..lets put it in the user lap and let them come up with some" without having some steep protocols that have to be followed. that is like handing a kid a can o gasoline in one hand and a lit match in the other..LOL

This app checker doesnt check for anything but malicious traits..meaning it doesnt check for usefulness, coloring, size or any of only checks the code and if the code is malicious..then it is rendered useless..I dont know if that is possible, and I certainly dont know how to do it..but im sure with all the developers in the world, it can be done?

as far as sopping up an already backed up drain..well, i guess framework 11.5 & 1/2 (lol) will come around alot sooner than I thought..hehehehheeee

MyRedz -3 Light Poster

Well I think this is a basic tool can help newbies learn about Android before determing whether they want to venture into serious development or not.Sounds like a good toy to me!!

popin 0 Light Poster

lol the mental image of a petrified kid trying to keep the gas and match apart while being slightly drawn to see what a mix of the 2 would look like and asking 'now why would you do that' filled my head there.

i suppose that a checker app/program would be an idea (tho its a very flawed concept as the flexible nature of the codding avaliable in the apps would mean a reliable system would be hard to produce and malicious user could hack and hack again trying to find ways round it) i think its a good idea and would definitely need a team of people looking at the apps even if it was on a slightly less complete basis than what apple do (say a system that looks at apps and say definitely safe or possibly not and throws a lot of false negatives to the experts to check.

but yeah apple would defiantly be the people to ask on that one they get through a ridiculous amount of app applications (lol word redundancy) every week tho i have a feeling the 4th reason they turn down apps is coz they feel like it (the 1st 3 haveing been listed b4 the iphone key note speach.

peter_budo 2,532 Code tags enforcer Team Colleague Featured Poster

You all forgetting one important detail

Before you can publish software on the Android Market, you must do three things:

  • Create a developer profile
  • Pay a registration fee ($25.00) with your credit card (using Google Checkout)
  • Agree to the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement

By paying registration fee number of dumb apps was already cut down at least by 50%, not many people are happy to fork money for it ;)

Dcurvez 0 Junior Poster in Training

Well, I guess we will just have to wait and see where this will take us because as Popin said earlier..its gonna happen with or without, we are either gonna have to get much more creative, blend in or move on..only 3 choices here.

my fears and questions is not gonna change anything, and really I dont expect them too (who the hell am i LOL)

creativity for me will be the way to go..maybe spend more time taking the business world and their need for business apps..and instead of creating "generic" apps that every "mechanic shop in the country can use" maybe gear these apps toward a more personalized software..people just love when something was custom built "just for them" :)..seems to go along way. guess that is one way to make sure you do not get washed out by all the new button makers that are gonna surface..LOL

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