Android Launches Amateur App-Maker

(13 Jul 2010, BWCS Staff)

Mobile OS Android has opened up a new front in the battle to beat Apple. The Google-backed operating system is to allow amateur application developers to write their own apps - without the encumbrance of any prior knowledge of programming. The new "App Inventor" service enables users to create their own games or apps for Android phones via a web browser in a very "simple-to-use" manner. Once built, the new app can be downloaded straight to the phone.

Users have the option to 'package' their finished app in order that they can share it with their friends, colleagues or the wider world in general - providing they are all using Android phones of course. Instead of writing code, users visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify its behaviour. According to press reports, the team behind the App Inventor service have created blocks for just about everything users can do with an Android phone, including blocks that allow the phone to communicate to services such as Twitter.

App Inventor also apparently provides access to a GPS-location sensor, allowing users to build location-aware applications. These can include tours of their school, university or workplace, or merely help users locate their property or cars.

In 2009 the new app-heavy Apple iPhones made the most news in the smart phone market. However, according to Gartner Research, Symbian phones and Research in Motion's Blackberry handsets still retained their lead in terms of sales. The global figure for the sale of Symbian handsets in the 12 months to December 2009, stood at 80.9 million, up from 72.9 million a year earlier. Yet, due to the fast rising market overall for smart phones (172.4 million sold in 2009 and 139.3 million in 2008), Symbian's market share fell to 46.9%, meanwhile, second-placed RIM's market share rose to 19.9% from 16.6% in 2008.


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