Software lets anyone develop their own Android app

Two of the most popular smartphone operating systems on the market are Google's Android OS and Apple's iOS. Many prefer Android to iOS because of the open nature of Android.

Apps written for Android are easier to get onto the Android Market than apps written for the iPhone – iOS apps also have to be approved by Apple meaning that a long development process could be for naught if Apple denies the app.

Google has announced a new software development program aimed at letting anyone develop an application for Android devices called the App Inventor for Android. The software is intended to allow the smartphone user to become a smartphone developer without having to know any programming languages.

The official Google Labs page for App Inventor states, "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 under certain conditions. There are even blocks to talk to services like Twitter."

The user of the software can drop in icons to create their apps with each of the icons representing a specific piece of code to do certain things with the Android device. App Inventor is GPS aware and can locate a user. The software can also send texts periodically or after specific actions. The software can also create apps that communicate with online services like Twitter.

The New York Times reports that the leader of the project at Google is Harold Abelson, a computer scientist from MIT on sabbatical at Google. Abelson said, "The goal is to enable people to become creators, not just consumers, in this mobile world." Abelson also stated, "We could only have done this because Android’s architecture is so open."

The App Inventor was tested with a myriad of students in all age groups, none of them computer science majors. Testing of the App Inventor software involved women, sixth grade students, nursing students and more. Apps developed by these groups included ones for alerting when a patient fell using the Android phone accelerometer and one that would respond to texts while driving with a message to not text the driver.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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