The mobile application market couldn’t be more exciting right now. Mobile platforms have been popping up right, left and centre in the past few years, with the two main contenders being Apple’s App Store for iOS 4, and Google’s Android Market. With so much attention to be got, and money to be made, the question remains: who wouldn’t want to develop applications for the mobile market?
The only problem for many people has been the huge hurdle of, well, programming you Android app! You could have a great idea that will sell thousands of times over on the Market, but if you can’t program your application then you’re not going to get very far at all! – What you need is Google’s Android App Inventor!
In the past, you’ve had to know a language such as C or Java to develop the application of your dream, but Google want to change that, with their ‘Android App Inventor‘, which promises to allow users with little or no programming experience to drag and drop their way to a great application. This functionality provided by the application allows you access to key areas of Android development without using any code. You can utilise GPS, design simple games and much more. Or so Google claim.
To help regular computer users make the transition to application development, Google has also provided some basic and advanced tutorials, allowing you to follow them and learn how to develop all different styles of applications. Some of the more advanced tutorials, such as ‘Quiz Me’ go in to great detail about the development process and how to make your application sustainable. Remember, this is all done without a single line of code from the user, just a simple drag and drop experience.
The question still remains, however, is this actually beneficial to the Android community of both developers and users? As things are at the moment, Google’s policy of accepting applications in to the Android Market is extremely laid back. You’d have to make an absolutely woeful application for it to be taken out of the Market, and even then it would be a rarity.
Surely, opening up the Market to users with no programming experience at all is going to cause Google a few problems down the line. Sure, in the short run, the number of Android apps available to download in the Market will undoubtedly grow significantly compared to Apple’s App Store, but will the applications being developed be any good for users? Perhaps the point of the Android App Inventor is simply to increase the number of apps so Android looks better on those comparison charts?
The Market is already regularly criticised for its acceptance of sub-standard applications, although Apple is too criticised for being too harsh in its application approval process (although according to Steve Jobs at the WWDC iPhone 4 announcement, 95% of the apps submitted to the store are accepted). Whether Google will suffer in the long run, as the Market becomes packed with useless applications that have little functionality is yet to be seen, but I don’t know if this will be an entirely positive move for the future.
For this to work for Google, they’ll have to tighten up their application approval process, in my opinion, to prevent users from complaining about a lot of apps simply not being that useful! Of course, only time will tell, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Google’s App Inventor for quite some time yet.
Do you think that the Android App Inventor is a good or bad move by Google?