MIT launches App Inventor Beta

Google‘s App Inventor has been reborn. The MIT Center for Mobile Learning has announced the opening of the Beta version of App Inventor to the public.

App Inventor provides a graphical interface for programming, thereby allowing users to create Android apps without the need for fancy programming skills. While Google discontinued its support for App Inventor on December 31, 2011, it tied up MIT to opensource the project.

Català: Interfície App Inventor

Image via Wikipedia

MIT’s involvement in the project has made it more class-room and educator friendly. MIT also plans to add several learning resources to its APP Inventor website.

App Inventor will now be suitable for any use, including running classes.

A list of education resources for App Inventor can be found here.

We will also be developing more resources and support for using App Inventor as a learning tool. We look forward to working with you over the coming months to build the community of App Inventor educators.

Read more at Announcing: MIT App Inventor Open Beta Preview | App Inventor Edu.

Using Layar Vision to implement Augmented Reality

Layar Vision, which is an extension of the Layar Augmented Reality browser,  offers another means by which iOS and Android App developers can use Augmented Reality (AR) to interact with physical objects. Compared to the Qualcomm AR SDK, the Layar Vision API takes a different approach by pushing the image identification processes to the server-side and having a usage based freemium pricing mechanism.

Below are a few videos of the power and potential of this product.

 

Here is a video introducing Layar Vision.

 

More explanations of Layar Vision

 

A sample of three applications

 

Read more about the API and associated toolkit here.

Qualcomm’s Augmented Reality SDK

Qualcomm‘s Augmented Reality (AR) SDK allows developers to design Android and iOS apps that can augment a live image from a camera  with superimposed virtual content (such as graphics, data, media, etc). The SDK, which is distributed free, provides several features, including virtual buttons, 3D objects, frame markers and targets.

Here is a video of the sample apps that are provided in the SDK

The below video of the winners of the Qualcomm AR Challenge (from Feb 2011) helps to fully appreciate the power of this toolkit.

Download the SDK here.

Read more at Augmented Reality | Products and Services | Qualcomm.

Android Fragmentation

App developers and users have complained about the fragmentation of the Android market for a long time. This wonderful graphic and accompanying post clearly illustrates the extent of this problem and shows why many Android users are stuck with older versions of the OS.

 

 

Read more at the understatement: Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support.

India’s $45 tablet to reduce the digital divide?

Aakash (Sky), a low-cost 7 inch Android tablet with internet access, is being touted as a means to bridge the digital divide by India’s Education Ministry. The Indian government will purchase bulk quantities of the tablet for $45 each and give it free to school students for use as a learning device. This follows on the heels of the successful pilot test of the I-Slate, another low-cost education oriented tablet.

Aakash, developed by a UK-based firm, will be assembled in India and will retail at $60 as the UbiSlate. With just a 3 hour battery life and low, this no-thrills tablet has a clear purpose – to bring millions online, in a fast and affordable manner.

The tablet runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and comes with a 7-inch resistive touch screen with 800×480 resolution and weighs 350 gram. The tablet has a 256 MB of RAM, a 32 GB expandable memory slot and two USB ports.

via World’s cheapest tablet launched – The Times of India.

 

First Pictures:  The Aakash, India's $50 Tablet : NDTVGadget.com

Image via NDTV

Apple leads the App Wars

Apple is winning the App Wars across several metrics. As seen in the below infographic, there are more than 450,000 apps for the  iPhone and iPad combined and 71% of the iPhone apps are paid apps. Android is a clear number two in the $15 billion App market.

Infographic via WebpageFX.com