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Google unveils Android App Inventor

WYSIWIG tool for anyone to create and publish smartphone games

Google has revealed its new App Inventor tool, a code-free design platform intended to promote development on its open-standards Android mobile operating system.

The App Inventor claims to require no programming knowledge, instead using buttons and blocks to creation games and applications. The application is based around the Open Blocks Java library system.

"You can build just about any app you can imagine with App Inventor," said the search giant on the program's launch website. "Often people begin by building games like WhackAMole or games that let you draw funny pictures on your friend's faces. You can even make use of the phone's sensors to move a ball through a maze based on tilting the phone."

While Apple is widely-considered current king of the smartphone market, Android is fast catching up. According to NPD's last quarter figures, all Android handsets combined netted 28 per cent of smartphone sales in the US market, while iPhone sales were 21 per cent.

The more open standards of Android - including some Java and Flash support - allows for a far greater range of software to be created and published. The App Inventor appears to be just the latest attempt to best Apple's App store, following a recent $10 million developer challenge.

While App Inventor is free and open to anyone, it does require application and registration. Sign-ups are now being accepted.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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