Google offers drag-and-drop App Inventor for Kids!

Google have launched tools to allow the creation of simple apps for Android devices, they’re not available just yet though, they are still in private beta. There are already several “it’s not going to produce much of value” posts our there, take this one from the Guardian.

Personally, having just spend the past three years learning to code for various platforms (including iOS), it is easy to be skeptical over these short cuts to writing applications

But I think they are missing the point, this is for children or young adults at least. It’s about getting kids interesting in Android, using Android and building apps that they may use, but it’s looking to the future.

I also agree that the next amazing twitter app will not emerge from this tool, but the person who develops that app, may have grown up on this, cut his or her teeth so to speak on it.

The form which allows you to register interest, is littered with references to education, Google’s aim is getting Android in to schools and used by kids as they grow up. Apple already does this it already offers free lessons for several of it’s apps for 8 to 10 year olds over the summer vacation, i.e. it’s starting the early.

To be honest, I’m keen to have a go, I haven’t done any programming since Uni and a bit of small talk on my IBM graduate training program, that’s it. But what I’m most keen to do is let my 6 year old daughter loose on it. She can use MS Paint, MS Word and do some interesting things, so I’m sure it won’t take her too long to pick this up.

The cat video might also spark a bit of interest, for the cat alone, but it’s about what she and kids her age will do with this. It gives them tools to make things not just out of paper and cello tape but allows them to make usable (if basic) software, that’s what this is about sparking an interest in the developers and entrepreneurs of the future.

Will the iPad be used by Corporations?

We’re just days away now from people getting their hands on Apple’s latest product the iPad, a tablet device or appliance about twice the size of the iPhone. There is speculation that it’ll sell 6M units in 2010 which is a pretty huge number for what essential is a locked down appliance.

So where will all those devices go? Most if not all will go to the same people that (religiously) buy Mac books and Mac book air’s. I guess that most people will buy them to consume media whilst traveling or just sitting on the couch for instance watching episodes of Lost bought from iTunes, but who else could buy them?

We’ve seen the iPhone creep into the Enterprise at the expense of Blackberry (which ironically is creeping into youth culture with it’s built in IM app). How many emails do you now seen in your outlook inbox with the words ‘sent from an iphone’ at the bottom, I see a growing number. There is a view that the iPhone is a consumer device more so than a business supplied corporate handset, but due to it’s ease of use and the size and scope of the  “there’s an app for that” store, we’re seeing it creep in as the power users phone of choice.

The ability of the iPhone to encroach into the enterprise shows that the iPad may well enter markets that it’s not initially aimed at too. Take the Text book market, text books are expensive (or they were when I last bought one!) and they are heavy to carry around. We’re already seeing text book publishers’ work with software companies to bring their content to the iPad. So could we see School, Universities, and educational establishments in general take up the iPad as the device of choice to provide the educational content?

I’m not sure if iPad will creep into the corporate environment as a lot of content creation goes on and at the moment the keyboard is king. However, I can see Apple selling a lot more than 6m iPads over the next few years into a whole host of new markets as it’s an easy to use/manage/upgrade wireless appliance with what looks like a great screen. What does this mean for the Telco’s; it means yet more networked devices requiring a pervasive network and ubiquitous computing creeps ever nearer.

Also published on Orange Business Live Blog.