Google entered the smartphone market with a markedly more open approach to mobile software than Apple. It now wants the end-user to tap that openness directly, without relying on a third party for simple software needs. App Inventor for Android is intended as a visual application development tool for just about anyone.
Unveiled today, the Google Labs project takes application development to the masses -- even those easily repelled by computer code, making it a mere matter of dragging and dropping “blocks to specify the app's behavior” and designing its appearance. Each “block” is a graphical manifestation of code associated with a particular function.
According to its official page: “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.”
Even though Google is now allowing people to sign-up for App Inventor – currently in closed beta, it will only begin “granting access to App Inventor for Android over the coming weeks.”