2012-03-14 08h45_50
Last Updated: March 22nd, 2012

Those of you from the early days of Android may remember App Inventor - a Google project that allowed people to create apps for Android by dragging and dropping bits of code - no programming experience required. More recently, Google transferred the App Inventor to MIT, where it was open sourced. But the App Inventor (AI) is still a bit tricky to just open and jump right in to - a proper guide through the AI would allow someone to utilize its full potential, and create more complex apps in less time.

Luckily, our friends at InformIT have such a guide - and we've got 10 copies to give away.

This contest is now over. Here are our winners, selected at random:
  1. Gene Yun
  2. Ron Podovich
  3. Dennis Heffernan
  4. Trenton
  5. Chris (Regul)
  6. Micah Madru
  7. ScottyBraun
  8. Irish McSmotPoke
  9. mr (Robert)
  10. Geff Chang

Congratulations, guys - all of you will be contacted for your information in the near future!

Everyone else - keep participating and stay tuned to Android Police so that you don't miss our upcoming giveaway announcements. You can follow AP on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and RSS.

The Book: Android Apps With App Inventor

2012-03-14 08h45_50

Published just a few weeks ago (Feb. 28, 2012) and written by Jörg H. Kloss, Android Apps With App Inventor: The Fast And Easy Way To Build Android Apps spans an immense 600 pages. The eBook is available for $28.79, the paperback for $35.99, or both for $48.59.

With App Inventor, a free visual development system, practically anyone can create robust, modern apps for today’s newest Android smartphones and tablets without any use of Java. Now, there’s a start-to-finish guide to App Inventor for everyone: working developers and non-programmers alike. Both an easy tutorial and a reliable reference, Android Apps with App Inventor provides hands-on walkthroughs that cover every area of App Inventor development, including the Google and MIT versions of App Inventor.
Kloss begins with the absolute basics of program structure, syntax, flow, and function, and then demonstrates simple ways to solve today’s most common mobile development problems. Along the way, you’ll build a dozen real Android apps, from games and geotrackers to navigation systems and news tickers. By the time you’re done, you’ll be comfortable implementing advanced apps and mashups integrating realtime multimedia data from all kinds of Web services with the communication and sensor-based features of your smartphone.

The Contest

Entering is, as always, quite easy. Just drop us a comment below and let us know what kind of app you'd like to create with the App Inventor. Most crucially, you must include a valid email address in the email field of your comment so that we can contact you if you win. Winners can choose print or eBook, whichever they prefer. The ten winners will be chosen at random from the valid comments below, and contacted shortly after the contest ends.

The contest is open from now (Wednesday, March 14) until Sunday, March 18 at 11:59 PM PST. It is open to residents of the following countries:


Good luck!

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • sriracha

    i'd make an app that calculates winter-time fuel usage, from multiple types, and projected next-year costs at current rates.

  • jeff donuts

    i want one so i can make an app of my wifes hott ass lol

  • Ruairi O Gallchoir

    I'd create an app that's an alternative Facebook client for Android. At the moment the current app is unstable and is basically a port of the iOS once, I would factor in the Holo design scheme and include many new features.

  • Ron Podovich

    I'd want to create a "THATS WHAT SHE SAID! app

  • Duncan

    This looks nice for a newbie to app development :)
    Want one!

  • Henry

    i would like to make an app that is so fun that it makes people forget their worries. :)

  • MrDerekBush

    I have a few healthcare related Apps kicking around in my head (HL7 message viewers, and diagnostic Apps specific to a few vendors).

  • Jason Learst

    I want to make an app that updates my Facebook, or Twitter with statuses about pace and distance when I am running. I'd mostly use it for when I am running in an organized race.

  • kerjan

    I would make a pen supported note application

  • nibblemonkey

    I would make some kind of amazing game, not sure what but I would want to make one.

  • Nicholas

    I would like to make a decent Mille Bornes clone for Android. There is currently nothing out there.

  • Jesse Coddington

    Sure why not :)

  • spryte

    I'd make an app which is useful especially for new Android phones, which are capable of running certain apps from the Play Store, but which are labelled as incompatible, I hate this on my RAZR. I would include the edit of the Play Store fingerprint (with different phone profiles) as well as the change of the LCD density...

  • Chris

    I can't tell you what I will make, but its going to be good!

  • Shinji

    I would make an AR game like faceraiders on the 3DS. Be so awesome.

  • Andrew Z

    id love to flip through this book, looks interesting!

  • Ethan

    I'd love to be able to make a better expense and budgeting app for people looking to be more frugal.

  • AJKahn

    I would like an app to have a variety of one click daily tasks... Alarms, Read SMS loud, Car mode, Office mode etc.

    Automate stuff but with just one click! :D

  • jovan muskinja

    App that keeps all your notes in on place, but you can add pics, maps and other info in your note. For people on the move.

  • http://www.tylerlane.net/ Tyler

    I'd make an app for calculating the cost of commuting to work. how much you spend on gas etc.

  • Gary Patrowicz

    want to create a hide and seek app to be played buy large groups of random people like a giant manhunt game dividing people into random teams

  • slipshft

    I would like to make an app for machining reference using the camera to make measurements and for guiding the tool during machining.

  • bemick

    I'd love to make one to backup all my game saves on a non rooted phone (not sure if you can do that).

  • TDMeyer

    I'd like to build some apps to handle messaging a little better when the phone is moving as in a car.

    I haven't found an app, yet that does what I want.

  • Clint P

    I'd make an app that allows for a 'quick' wipe of data from the phone, without the need for a remote wipe. This would be used in situations where the phone needs to be wiped immediately and behind the scenes.

  • Sumyunguy

    I would like to create a Parental Control App...

  • Levi

    I plan on creating an app that you can use to store a database of all the media you have (DVD/BRD, Books/Comics/Manga, Video Games, CDs). However, I plan to take it a step further and allow it to be synced with other devices including desktops.

  • Anthony

    I would make an app that turns your phone into a live xray machine,
    just so i can find all the money that falls out of my pocket.

  • http://twitter.com/comraderudy Rudy

    i want one so i can make an app for jeff donuts's wife too.

    • jeff donuts

      haha yea shes pretty hott i got links if u wanna see ;)

  • Matt Donders

    An app that easily displays the time until your next train or bus for all of New Jersey without needing to look up train times, just open the app and select your destination - it will then use GPS to determine the station you are at.

  • Jamie Luckett

    I want to win so I can make the game I've had in my head for a year!

  • http://coinoperatedbear.wordpress.com Steven James

    I'd love to work on a JRPG styled game as well as something good for money management.

  • Kuroshima

    I would make an app that would work as an interactive character sheet for my pen and paper RPG characters

  • Chris W.

    I am a shipbroker. As such, I've been thinking about building an Andoid app that enables me to do my job on-the-go (I have many, many meetings) as efficiently as if I were sat at my desk in the office. At present it's a bit of a pain!

  • koniczynek

    I would like to create an app that will earn me a million dollars! ;D

  • Liam

    I'd love to create a game for Android :)

  • Julius

    I would like to create a useful app, which the book would probably help with

  • Rob

    I'd write a app that tells my 3yr old son its time for bed and to give the tablet back to daddy.

  • Christopher LeMeilleur

    I would create a live-search lyrics app or an online play, over-the-top boxing game.

  • Harris Kreloff

    I'd like to create a social app where people can talk, not a dating app but more if like a hangout. When I had an iPhone there were a few apps that I liked that were simple but good social apps. but when i switched to android I haven't really found any that were like the ones I used in ios

  • john brough

    I would love to make an app where if you loose your phone in the house you can whistle for it and makes a noise my son always hides mine so would come in handy.

  • Preston

    Hmm..I would create an app to budget my campus dining credits :D

  • Szalo Cristina

    haven't decided yet, maybe an app with the tram routes in my city? anyway, i want to get into the android app development, so i hope that i'll win.

  • Rohit Kumar Singh

    Exactly what I need to make that personalised calendar app I've always wanted!

  • Eric

    I'd create an app that displayed random, user submitted facts of checked ligitimancy. Then I'd build shenanigans

  • VonLaserface

    I'd explore the possibility of making a running game akin to "Zombies, Run!" but with a deeper RPG element and optional social integration for multiplayer content.

  • J Rush

    Considering I'm an Audiophile, I'd construct a better Music Player, with more features as opposed to PowerAmp. I want my app to be a direct contender with all the other major apps out there. Innovation is only possible if you can accept change.

  • Gerald

    I would like to try to see if it is possible to make an app to have visualizations on your music player, since there is currently none in Market. Yes, it may eat up a lot of battery but I'd make it have an option to use it only when plugged. I can dream can't I? =)

  • well versed

    I can't give my app ideas out here! :P But hope I win :D

  • bwbloom

    Want now.

    buddies are starting a company for all things bro and this might let us put out an app eventually.


  • lilcdroid

    I want to create an app of the old style rotary dialer, instead of the t9 keys. Just for the old folks, like me, to relive some of our youth.

  • Phillip Moeckler

    I could put this amazing book to great use in my computer applications class for school!

  • Daniel

    I want to make a few custom apps for my stuff, but without wasting tons of time.

  • Wm

    I'd like my 14 year old to create a hello world app to start!

  • Eric Carboni

    An AndroidPolice app!

  • Kim Fisker

    Would like to create that simple package tracking app I've always wanted.

  • Marty

    I'd create a more complete motosports app.

  • Kim Tyson

    I want to make a better app for cycling. Something that will track your route, have a music player built in, and one that you can import a route.
    I also want to develop networking tools.
    The book looks nice. Good luck with it.

  • chris hardy

    I would seek to design an app to supplement learning in schools, hopefully encouraging schools to make use of android tablets as a learning aid.

  • William

    I would make all kinds of apps

  • mr

    I would like to make a word game for children that is also fun for adults.

  • Kree

    I think id use it to make a holo themed facebook app, god i hate the current facebook app.

  • Jason M.

    I want to create an app to track my work schedule. I am a flight attendant and currently only ios app is available.

  • masius

    I would like to create slim client for my pc. Then I could control my pc while lying in my bed and watching movien on my dual screen

  • Leon l

    id like to make an app scheduling my classes and bus times.

  • Bojan Bunic

    I'd like to build a home automation app.

  • Andy in Indy

    I want to make an app that recognizes the QR code on the membership ID card for my Hacker space and unlocks the door via an IOIO board.

    Also, I want to teach my daughter the basics of thinking like a programmer and this would be a cool way for her to play with her phone!

  • David

    I'd make make one that could track my employees availability and help create schedules.

  • http://teddymccormick.com Teddy McCormick

    I'd like to make tools for roleplaying - particularly ones that make use of a tablet's screen real estate. I'm talking more than just dice rollers; I'd want initiative trackers, character summaries, easily summonable charts and sheets... that sort of thing.

  • Allan Mosher

    I have a number of utility apps I've been thinking about that I'd love to be able to create!

  • Lee

    I would like to make a nice app that allows you to easily switch between news sites, social sites and entertainment sites, as well to include my own website in it

  • Alex

    I want to create a automated androidpolice ad clicker. Then i'll spread the app to everyone for free, then androidpolice will become millionaires..... just need this book first...

  • Sergiu

    a sysadmin app, for easy remote management linux/windows workstations from phone and tablet

  • SQurel23

    Have an idea for a fun, simple, addicting game that would take all of us back to those childhood memories!

  • Sven

    I'd make something revolutionary; I don't want to give it away right now though

  • http://LiyoLabs.etsy.com Lem

    My girlfriend wants me to create a recipe app that incorporates shopping lists and such, but also timers for things like basting of meats or turning of things in the oven.

  • Sven

    I'd make something revolutionary. I don't want to give it away right now though

  • Federico Landra

    If i won the contest i'd create an app about the systematic of the animals cause there isn't any one yet about it. I hope to win!

  • JW

    An app that allows a user to integrate user data to KHS Schedules and also allow instant syncing of counsel points for the TMS. Even a robust return visit app would be nice.

  • http://www.ihyperactivemedia.com Stephen

    I would like to make a social app for a photography site that lets people submit events, photos when they are at a particular event to share with everyone that has the app, amongst other things like hot spots where people are at in real time.

  • DTJ

    I'd be interested in creating an app that works as a bridge between a tablet and a computer. Allowing users to use on as a screen for another, so two tablet screens or two laptops as well as allowing the user to transfer pictures, use the tablet as a remote keyboard or as a webcam or touchpad.

  • Leo Vendler

    I would make an app that could perform statistical analyzes of the uses of the phone/tablet.

  • James Pearson

    I've had a couple of ideas in my mind for a while.

    But mainly something for the kids to use :)

  • Phil Fernandez

    This book would be great to help create a bills/budget tracking application.

  • dave

    Hi folks, my app would be able to detected live wires using the camera in your device.

  • tahoe12

    An app that would be used by healthcare professionals caring for neurologic patients

  • Martin Rajniak

    The app to show off that how easy it is to build different apps with these tool.

  • fabrizio

    I'd like to make a simple shooting game starring japanese robots from the seventies, like Goldorak, Mazinger, Jeeg and Daitarn.

  • http://zollinger.org CrazyKZ

    There is a local grocery store that gives you gas coupons based on dollars spent. The best value is a 15ยข discount for $75. I would write an app that would allow you to track your spend so you could buy in $75 chunks. It would need to connect to a database that would link the bar code of the product to the price at the store. The use case would be you would scan a bar code and input quantity and it would add it to the value you were spending that day. If the code wasn't in the database you would add description and price. If the price was wrong (they always get higher, no?) you would correct it.

    As a second use case you would have a nice history of spend and purchase habits and a good base for a shopping list application.

    There are lots and lots of shopping list apps, so I don't know that this would be "sellable," but I would use it and that is all that matters, right?

  • Kris Linville

    An App/Widget that combines your Google+ Stream, Facebook Timeline and Twitter Feed all in a single continuously-scrolling pane of glass. It would also allow interaction with each post (i.e. liking, retweeting, +1, etc.) and posting new messages to any combination of the three services.

    The app would be followed up by an optional add-in to include custom RSS/ATOM feeds with a "Read It Later" hook to save links for later review.

    I might call it something like OmniStream.

  • Greg M

    I would like to make an app for law school and bar exam study. I haven't been able to find any good ones for android.

  • Brad Mruzek

    I would love to see an app that adjusts backgrounds to actually fit a screen correctly. The current version of android OS does a terrible job with backgrounds and setting pictures as backgrounds.

  • http://twitter.com/Sxeptomaniac Sxeptomaniac

    I'd like to try a couple of things, but I have no idea how feasible it would be for me to do on my own.

  • dustin

    I'd like to make an app that goes along with the arduino platform. Expand upon app inventor's sensor capabilities. To help people who like arduino but don't know how to code android.

  • Paul Johnson

    OpenStreetMap navigation with Google Latitude support

  • Brian W.

    I'd like to develop a logistical utility that can be used with RF/QR for a trucking outfit.

  • Chris

    I'd love to make a decent, simple, consolidated transport timetable app that would include transport info (realtime if possible) from any transport company world wide, train, bus or tram!
    I need three apps in Dublin for timetables, one for each of the transport systems, and then need a similar amount if I want transport info for other cities, it would be nice if I only needed one app for it all!

  • mark keane

    i would make an app that gives reviews for local resturants and customers comments

  • Stephen Sharp

    I guess you'd find out if I got the book, wouldn't you :p

  • http://royblumenthal.com/portfolio Roy Blumenthal

    I'm keen to create a countdown timer that sits in the notification bar. It's purpose would be to give me a 'green-yellow-red' timeline for completing speed caricatures on my Galaxy Note.

  • Radu

    The first app that I would develop, would be a small FREE tool that lets controls your android phone when reaches 5% of battery life, disconnect data, stop sync and disable GPS. No more missed calls due to no battery juice. Hope I can win. Love the website

  • Ante

    I would like to continue exploring it. I started some, then forgot about it because it was a bit complex... I would probably just build an app for my own usage, like a stopwatch or some notepad. Something that's probably built already, but it's good training. If I remember correctly you can't publish them on the market without hacking the app.

  • Larry

    Would to start with a simple personal stopwatch app just to get familiar with building. After that we'll see what inspires me.

  • Scott Haggerty

    I'd like to make an app that has ALL notifications, messages, e-mails, turn by turn directions, voice commands, etc. work over bluetooth for when in car. Haven't found one that directs everything to bluetooth!

  • doug

    why not. I like books on stuff like this.

  • http://techsak.wordpress.com Mike Sakovsky

    I would make the picture punch app, allows you to place a photo on the screen of anyone, celebrity, politician...etc and the faster you tap the more damage the image gets. Cartoony bandages, black eyes, missing teeth..you name it.

  • ttownscott

    I'd write an app for my son's boy scout troop to help patrols plan what they need to buy on an outing. Once the food list is created and the food purchased the cost per scout would be calculated and texted to each scout in the patrol.

  • Charles Knight

    I've been wanting to port traditional card games to various platforms (android especially) for a while now

  • Daniel H.

    Even it's not Google hosted now, MIT is doing a great effort to keep it alive,
    Hurra for the MIT!

  • Skylar

    Hello, I'm a student taking web design in college and want to make an app to give a friendly mobile version of phpbb and other boards. Thank you.

  • Amar

    I have two immediate apps in mind. One an app for parents to deal with common medical conditions in young children. The other for beginner birdwatchers especially children to recognise common birds and their calls.

  • Carlos

    I'd like to create an app to help the user in emergency situations.

  • Rigo

    An Puzzle / RPG Type game :P

  • Mike Jones

    I'd like to make an app for my local library system so I can keep track of my overdue books. Maybe even have fewer of them!

  • http://www.twitter.com/kitster Kitster

    I would make a Android app companion to a grocery website I am developing. Or, I may just make a fart soundboard! Nobody has done that yet, right?

  • palmer nyako

    A super mario galaxy like game for the Android Platform.

  • http://redcarpetdiary.tv Jason

    I want to make an app that helps people track, control and eliminate their bad vices.

  • EmrysTal

    I want to create a scorekeeping app that can be adapted to a variety of games.

  • Sancar

    I want to make a Game of Generals game

  • 4beaches

    I would make a fart application.Don't tell anyone, I want to be the first.

  • Saba V

    Not sure. haven't thought about it.

  • Dennis Heffernan

    I'd make a schedule/task list app. I don't quite care for any of the ones I've used so far.

  • Jody

    Pick me! I would build an app to print money using the 4Gs! Haha

  • Slighter

    Companion app for my buddies educational trumpet site

  • Bradley Ruiz

    might use it to create a nice app to keep record of my movies library what i have watched and whats on my queue :)

  • kevin bedford

    I would make a app to run Second life

  • http://fadisdesigns.com Fadi

    I'd make a site that allows workers in my department to clock in and out using a barcode system. No more paper!

  • Romulus

    App for posting links with preview on Google+

  • Gend

    I would like to modify apps more then create new ones. Some apps are so close to being great and could use a little modification to make them awesome.

  • johnathan Higginson

    An app that gives me a real time display of my car stats. So I can track fuel vs performance. With the goal of collecting and tracking data.

  • joel mansfield

    I would make an app that allows the user to build a database of license plates with other associated information that stalkers might find comes in handy.

  • m blonk

    Dont know yet what kinda app i am going to come up with, but always wanted to create an awesome app. This might be my chance :)

  • MJ

    The app I would create with App Inventor is under a NDA. >)

  • Michael

    I've been trying to figure out how to create an app so that I can track the work my cub scouts have been doing. Something that I think many cub scout leaders would like.

  • Luly

    I will make an app to keep a record of my wardrobe so that I won't be feeling like there's nothing to wear when I have a full wardrobe of clothes.

  • Andrew Buell

    I would like to create several apps for my school.
    1. General school website
    2. Student oriented (planner,online grade link, Calender)
    3. Social link for the school ( facebook, moodle, twitter, g+)

  • Scott

    I want to make a GPS app to use while hiking or biking. It will have distance/ time to landmark, voice readout of current elevation and more features as I build it.

  • Lauren Hilton

    I would like to utilize this book to help me create a proof of concept application for the company i work for.

  • Alejo

    I will make an app for my costumers to access our business through their androids!

  • EON69nc

    This is the thing for me, I could use this to get my app idea off the ground. PLEASE LET ME WIN

  • joseph daily

    App that compares financial products from various investment services

  • Jake Bailey

    I'd like to make an app that can be used to score shuffleboard.

  • Hector Acevedo

    I want an app for all my club members to access a website I'll maintain

  • http://Jaggerd.com Anthony

    Interested in making an app that can...... Well I don't know? I have a galaxy nexus and i have rooted and rommed with aokp and i love it. I am a graphic designer and I'm thinking of a digital portfolio that has your contact information and a small sample of work that you could email or bump to someone else. For example you are at a bar and strike up a conversation with a person and instead of a business card you could just email or text or bump a packet of you! Have a couple different ones depending on the person. One could be corporate and another for more bleeding edge styles. I think that would be cool. So at the beginning of this post I had no idea what kind of app to make but now at the end I do. So i guess if I can think one up that quick I probably got a few more lodged in my lobe

  • Greg

    I'd like to create a very good secure tunnel app.

  • http://bepo.fr nemolivier

    I'm physiotherapist and would like to create an app to help my patients finding corect postures udev their job desk.
    Learning exercices, take picture android draw on it, etc.

  • http://www.unwiredmedic.com Christopher Matthews

    I want to make an app for a radio tones generator for public safety. It's not going to make any money, but it would have come in handy for me several times in recent past. After that, maybe I'll see what I learn and apply it to making other apps for public safety...

    Thanks for the contest!

  • Mark Sheftick

    Definitely not a programmer but I would like to develop some apps for my work.

  • Coy Longshore

    I would like to create an app for our small hunting clothing business so we could reach out to more folks and establish a larger consumer base. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • http://razvan.nl Razvan

    I always wanted to make apps for phones, blackberries, androids and ios. But the school said that I can't take the course and they will think that I will fail. I want to prove them wrong. :(