At last we can have a play with this great idea!
The Google App Inventor is now released to the general public. Today a colleague and I had a play and wrote our first Android App (well done Doug). Altogether it took about an hour but much of that time was actually spend getting device drivers working properly. If you are happy to use the emulator then you should be able to jump straight in. My guess is that the first app might take 15 mins or so.
The programming environment is an online tool so needs no installation. It draws on Java so this will need to be installed (if you’ve not got that already).
There are basically 2 screens – the ‘non visible’ resources area and the ‘blocks editor’. Basically you create the resources then program them. A resources could be a picture or sound or maybe a button, text box, list etc.
So first create the resource then use the blocks editor to do actions with the resources. The Blocks Editor is very similar to Scratch. Creating powerful looking apps is really easy with the useful library of actions and this looks to be well within the grasp of anyone who can use Scratch