MIT Version of App Inventor Launches in Public Beta

App Inventor, a graphically-driven application development environment that lets even users without prior programming experience build apps for Android is now in public beta under its new management.

First launched by Google in 2010 and then discontinued last year, App Inventor is now managed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A new beta version is accessible at After release as an open-source project, the MIT Center for Mobile Learning (CML) collaborated with Google to initially make the project freely available for experienced programmers so they could deploy it using Google App Engine.

Housed at the MIT Media Lab and supported by Google University Relations, CML focuses on education and learning through mobile computing, with the expectation of that it will enable people to learn anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Other major projects include an educational app Scratch meant for pre-school children via the Lifelong Kindergarten Group, educational games and platforms from Scheller Teacher Education Program. The main objective of these projects is changing the nature of science and technology education in the introductory level.

Android App Development for Dummies?

App Inventor allows users to develop Android apps through a web-based interface, which enables creators to build software through a platform-agnostic environment. Application design is done through App Inventor Designer, and the application’s behavior is created through App Inventor Blocks Editor. Both can be done with any desktop or notebook, as only web access is required.

After creating an app, these can be run using Android Emulator, or installed on any Android phone. Finished apps are stored on App Inventor servers for future use or distribution. No prior programming skills are needed.

Users can try App Inventor beta through A Google account will be required, though. App Inventor has been in closed testing in the last two months with 5,000 users. With this public beta launch, though, expect the system to undergo heavily load. As such, users are encouraged to backup their important apps.

After the launch, MIT still hopes for continuous support from the open source community, with the possibility of using the service for larger-scale development and collaborations.