The idea is that if everyone can be app creators — not just app consumers — Android could become a more useful, more ubiquitous platform than Apple’s iPhone or RIM’s BlackBerry, which require extensive programming experience to make apps for.
Assuming the tool is actually easy enough for real people to use, this, in theory, could lead to a zillion new apps for Android, and maybe help convince people to buy Android phones instead of competitors. This should also help the Android market soar past Apple’s iPhone App Store app-count.
“Google App Inventor: feels like we’ve come full circle back to Visual Basic,” tweets Chris Dixon, cofounder of Hunch and a startup investor.
Most apps created via App Inventor will probably be worthless to the general public, but a few could become popular, and maybe Android App Inventor will even launch a few app development careers.
And none of these apps, of course, will work with the iPhone. That’s different than if Google was building development tools for web apps, which would be cross-platform.
Will Apple respond? Its iMovie software has turned millions of its Mac users into video editors; a similar-style app could potentially do the same for iPhone apps.
Here’s a video Google made to explain App Inventor: