This morning, Google announced the App Inventor, a new tool in Google Labs that lets anyone create an app for Android phones.
While Google has been testing App Inventor in classrooms for a year, it is now available for the public via an online form.
I personally think that this is a very smart concept. Not only will we see a vast array of specialized apps built by non-developers (and sometimes, a non-techie has better perspective on what what kinds of apps might be useful), but it also has the potential for the general population, especially children, to become more interested in programming and become creators of mobile technology as opposed to just a consumer. In addition, this free and easy method will encourage small websites and business owners to create mobile apps and remain competitive in their markets.
At the same time, I can definitely see a downside — mainly, that the quality of apps in the Android Market will start to suffer. Furthermore, the App Inventor seems very basic. Many of the best and most popular mobile apps require much more complex functions than those currently offered by the App Inventor.
All this being said, you can’t help but admit that this is a great move by Google on behalf of its mobile market share.