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Will Google’s App Inventor help or hinder Android?

Google recently unveiled its latest attempt to open up the Web to everyone: It’s App Inventor, a visual app creator that lets anyone, regardless of programming knowledge, create apps for Google’s Android mobile operating system.

It might seem like a great idea at first (now you can take the initiative to create that app you’ve always wanted), but it begs the question: Will this move ultimately boost or hinder Google’s quest for mobile dominance?

Google touts its App Market as ever-growing, which is true, but Android apps have yet to reach the level of complexity and professionalism found in Apple’s App Store. While recognizable names and highly-polished apps dominate Apple’s app marketplace, Android’s App Market is full of glitchy programs written by amateurs after a quick buck. There’s a real lack of high-quality material available to Android users — a major arguing point for hardcore Android-haters.

Now, with something like App Inventor, which opens app creation to anyone with a computer, it might become even harder to take Android and its apps seriously.

It’s true that App Inventor is a big step toward making the mobile and online worlds more open-sourced places, but there are probably plenty of professionals and decision-makers who would argue that’s not necessarily a good thing.

If I were a teacher, I would love to be able to make Android-based quizzes and study guides for my students, but if I were a professional software developer, I’d be concerned about wannabe programmers stealing my marketshare (and thus deteroriating my profits).

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