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.

  • joe w

    would love to be able to build apps

  • Chris

    I'd liked to make a better email client.

  • Matt

    A new visually appealing and innovative contacts app that takes G+'s circles to a whole new level. It's my dream to make something like that haha

  • Rob

    I'm a real geek for weather apps, so I'd probably try to create my dream weather app. :)

  • tim

    I would like to make a user configurable database entry program.

  • Derek

    I want to recreate the classic 'star trek' game on android, I already have ideas for the user interface to avoid having to use a keyboard.

  • Connor

    I want to make an app for my girlfriend's Dad's company to impress him ;-)

  • Rene

    I would try to create an app called "What should I do today?" But first I would need to know how to create the app and this is where the book would be handy.

    Thanks for giving me an oppertunity to win this book.


  • Keyan X

    If I had the chance and abilities to write any realistic app, I would make an app for schools(colleges) that teachers and students could use, since the mobile era is here and has no end in sight. The app would allow professors to tell what's needed for class at the beggining of every semester or class, alert students of changes or absences (with pings or notification popups), allow assignments to be given out, allow student communications, have separation and registration rules keeping only students registered in the class available to view certain content, etc. Being a college student and always having my phone on me this would be useful especially having a popup in the morning saying class is canceled before having to walk there, or to remind me of a test, and this book/guide could be the stepping stones to get me there....

  • Carlos

    Hi! I would like to build huge money earning hit! No descrimination needed! :D

  • leo

    i would like to make a tour guide app for my hometown

  • Frank

    I want to make a virtual Loofadog (Multipet's squeaky dog toy... YouTube "Petsmart loofadog"... It is the commercial with the weiner dog and his "bono")

  • Andrew Lam

    I want to make a classic RPG!

  • Remco de Ket

    The app I'd like to make is one that's useful to medical professionals to have quick access to "best practice guidelines". The app would link, via a search engine (probably google), to the latest researched evidence based best practice guidelines information as well as having a database on the more established and stable guidelines stored in a local database.

  • Dan

    id like to make an app that tells you how awesome you are!

  • Bazar6

    I've tried the MIT App Inventor and desperately need a guide to help me figure it out (PLEASE!!) With the sudden change in the weather recently, I couldn't find an app that showed the pollen count/severity for my area, and thought that would be a great idea for building an app and widget. That would just be my first app ;)

  • http://geffchang.wordpress.com Geff Chang

    I'd like to make an app for a Filipino / American sign language dictionary.

  • Kevin K

    I too would like to build my dream weather app, I find that I use 3-4 to get the information that I want.

  • Mark G.

    I would make an array of child learning apps for my kids designed specifically for my kids.

  • Raphael D.

    I'd like to make range of apps that's really useful and practical without extra bells and whistles.

  • Hien

    An app to help manage videoconferences (scheduling/starting/etc.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/THEadamlewis Adam Lewis

    I can't really say what the idea of my app is because I'm scared someone will take it! Though, I will say that it is heavily widget based and meant for entertainment.

    Please pick this poor, college student looking for his start.

  • julie m

    I'd like to see more apps related to agriculture. I'd create an app to help me manage my flock of sheep...no joking. Ear tags, vaccinations, feed ratios, etc.

  • chad

    Home automation app

  • http://www.christianjoaquin.net Christian

    I'd like to make mobile interface for our CRM / business directory at work.

  • Eric

    I've an awesome idea for a game that i would Love to make, pretty indie and i haven't seen anything like it before. Tried picking up android but its somewhat confusing for a beginner. This book would be an Immense help as i would be able to use the programming scripts and learn off them instead of doing a bunch of "hello world" and basic "button projects"

  • Michael

    Spring Break is coming up and this would be fun to work with

  • Ryan

    I'd really like to make a network diagram app. Sort of a simple Visio for Android.

  • Chad

    I would make an app that would tell you what kind of fish are in the lake you are at. It would also tell you what bait or lure to use and where on the lake to catch the fish depending on the time of day and time of the year. There would be different versions of the app for the different lakes and reservoir.

  • http://mattbrodeur.com Matt

    I really want to make a photo app for groups of photos based on an event or location. Everyone goes to school plays and takes pics. Someone else might have gotten a better angle or pic of your kid, but if you don't know that person, you'll never know or see it.

  • Steve levenhagen

    Would love to build an app to use for data collection during an educational observation. Tried a couple that fall woefully short. Of course, without programming skills, this book could really help.


  • http://www.google.com loranz

    I actually have two projects that are slowly progressing... This book will make it alot faster and simpler. =) and of course it will not be google books.. But if they let, hey I dont mind. haha.



  • Josh

    Notekeeping app!

  • cole

    I'd like to make an app for legal research via open sources and google scholar. PICK ME, PLEASE!!!!

  • SChen

    A location dependent application.

  • Garrett

    An app that solved math problems by taking a picture

  • Luis Martins

    One application to control battery life of the smartphone.

  • http://www.lympago.com Rob

    I'm thinking of a simple waypoint logger, based on direction changes, for plotting tacking tracks when sailing.

  • Axc

    I don't know but i really want to make my own apps :)

  • http://jewelfox.dreamwidth.org Taryn Fox

    I'd like to make a choose-your-own adventure game.

  • Sam Monty

    I would focus on an App which would increase battery life with surrounding Green Energy without looking for an electrical outlet and reduce device radiation levels based on type of usage.

  • Gene Yun

    I'm hearing impaired and would love to create apps for people like me. An example is a better vibrating and/or screen notifications that don't require sound so i don't have to let the world know I've got a call, text, or email. Perhaps a better vibrating alarm clock so I can use my phone instead of waking the entire neighborhood up with my extremely loud alarm clock. Those are the apps I'm looking for...

  • http://www.danstephenson.ca Dan

    I'd create an app to allow for collaborative and social story telling. Users each add a sentence to a story created by friends.

  • http://www.danstephenson.ca Dan

    Android Apps with App Inventor: The Fast and Easy Way to Build Android Apps

  • Felix

    An applications manager. A shelf for apps.

  • Felix

    A shelf for apps. A manager that details the games' progress, resources used and such..

  • Rajat

    Dont know yet but will love to make one

  • http://www.digitalknk.com Jon Molina

    I'd make a Heroku client so I can manage my apps from my phone.

  • http://www.digitalknk.com Jon Molina

    I'd make a Heroku client so I can manage my cloud apps from my phone.

  • Luis Penuelas

    A music oriented app

  • Will Heineman

    I would love to win!

  • Nick

    I'd like to build a simple, but fun 4x style turn based strategy game, and uses google profiles (gmail, G+) to do multiplayer.

  • Raviteja

    Maybe a app which helps you kill time....I mean a game





  • John O’Driscoll

    I'd create an app that helps build apps that will design better apps that help me take over the world.

  • charles guardino

    Hi! I would like to build huge money earning hit! No descrimination needed!

  • Nick

    This book would be awesome to learn with!

  • http://www.scottswebs.net Scott

    I would first build an app that would help with power management and although there are many apps out there, I want mine to look as native to android as possible... Especially ICS. I would then build an app that would assist with keeping track of your vehicle's health. Using a bluetooth OBDI device, you can diagnose "Service Engine Soon" lights, you can also estimate and keep track of gas mileage, service and maintenance for the vehicle as well. All of this data would be sent to your email, even have it spit out in a Spreadsheet, or PDF format as well.... And those are just for starters.

  • Adam

    I'm an author, so I'd like to make an app that pulls in writing news from writing websites, as well as displaying handy tips and techniques. Free 'n ad-supported, probably, but maybe with a 99c version that removes the ads.

  • Robbie L

    Hello! I would to create a calendar app with note integration and/or some sort of workout tracker with gps capabilities for people who enjoy running.

  • Robbie L

    ^forgot to say, thank you for having these contests. We all appreciate them

  • Trenton

    I would make a Gamification application to make modern boring life easy! Share on Facebook or the even better Google+. It would be so much fun!

  • Shaun

    I would like to create an app to help me at work be more productive and organized.

  • Radek

    Good Remote Control app would be useful :)

  • Pablo

    I'm just curious to learn about how to use app inventor

    I'd probably try to make games with it though most likely something creepy or strange too.. XD

  • Guillermo Herrera

    I would want to build simple games and then move upward. Maybe a better browser as well for my tablet.

  • Kaustubh Ghanekar

    Absolutely help my android developer friend...

  • http://Tavishandmolly.com Sheldon Henderson

    Sweet! I'd finally get around to building an app built on google maps. It's for road trips. Still haven't found something like it and would love to make it.

  • Andy

    I'm looking to start a club at school about android app developing and learning and teaching with appinventor is a great way to start for everyone

    An app we'd start with would be a school clubs news app that keeps everyone updated

  • Adrian

    Im a real geek deep inside and i would love to have the book and use it to create my dream app of a nice music player that can compete with PowerAmp and make it free!

  • david s strange

    I would like to make a pilot checklist integrated with current weather conditions visibility, air pressure and ceiling levels.

  • nac1380

    I would love to be able to create apps! I am thinking about a music app, a soundboard app that blows others out of the water, and some kind of game that is different than most of the games out there.

  • Ryan

    I'd like to create a revolutionary "to-do-list" app...

  • Zahed

    looking forward to create a augmented reality app.

  • kate

    Photoshop app. Not like the basic ones already out there but one that allows you to recolor and not have a stupid black or white background when saved. One that allows layers. I want an app like that now so I can easily make icons without having to use a computer using templates shared by others.

  • Corben

    Listen, I wanna make a game >:(

  • Daniel Campbell

    Not sure if I am making it on time but I will still try and make a submission here. I would love to create a music app and or a fun addicting game. Of course I would work my way up to bigger and better but you have to start small then go big. I have always wanted to make an app and this book would be perfect. I am also currently a dev in training. I have a long way to go but I want to learn.

  • Timothy

    I would like to build a reference-type of app such as details on all of the android devices ever made.

  • George Heymann

    There was a mileage tracker app on Palm that I used back in my Treo days that would generate printable excel mileage report right from my smartphone. Haven't found anything that works as well or as simply since then.

  • Jacob

    I'd make a old school text adventure :)

  • Ashish Bagaddeo

    I want to create a app, that will help to select multiple files and share it over multiple devices or sites (including bluetooth). Also, user wont have to externally start the bluetooth.

  • Thomas Nord

    A chat client that only uses pictures.

  • http://about.me/ryanmmoore ryan moore

    I would create a database app for our chamber that would let us map out the members, easily search, see details etc.. potentially Augmented reality with 'tags' for members.

    essentially i'd like to replace our crm

  • TechBroker

    I would like to build a new youtube app...

  • Dean

    I'd like to make a decent synthesizer app.

  • ScottyBraun

    Id Like to create a lottery number Generator, that'll pick a special series of numbers for the person. Not giving away the secret tho ;)

  • ben battat

    OMG! im so envious i wish i could better contribute to the android ecosystem!

  • Jesus G

    A app that help people...

  • Robert T

    I'd like to try my hand at creating an old-school RPG game on Android.

  • Kiran Parmar

    I'd like to make a stick-it notes kind of thing for reminding people about tasks that are to be done. These notes would be such that you can stick(place) them on your home screen

  • Dan Caseley

    I'd love to create an app to automate those giveaway code entry systems like CokeZone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SamarthRajeev Samarth Rajeev

    I'd like to make a app for train commuters in India

  • djgrant

    I would try to create a simple CRM client program that could tie into established web-based CRM program CiviCRM, for use by non-profits

  • Luggag3

    I would write an email notification app so that I only get audible notifications from certain contacts / groups of contacts

  • Jack

    I would invent an app which allowed me to change the music I am listening to based on the speed I am running at.

  • http://resbo.dk Søren Resbo

    I want to make a proper Travia game, with thousands of questions in various categories. I think it's missing now..

  • http://kkepinski.com Chris Kepinski

    Well. I have an idea how to automate Google searching but it already needs investment and time. With "Android Apps With App Inventor" book It could be rocket fast and beauty app development. The money saved on this contest I could invest into API I need for this app.

  • http://cbites.blogspot.com Andy Harrison

    I would like to create an app to control my work desk phone from the mobile app (turning on send-calls, call-forward, voicemail etc). We have feature codes that the app could dial to turn these things on and off, if I knew how.

  • Mayank Chauhan

    I was thinking of starting developing apps for Android and this would be a great start. Would love one of these.
    Thank you.

  • Bastiaan

    I'd like to create some text adventure games:)

  • LayZee

    I won't share what kind of app, I would be building. 'Cause then some one would beat me to the finish line :D

  • Alasdair Collinson

    I'd like to create a pedometer. I know, they already exist, but I'd like to do it anyway. You know, so I understand the theory behind it. (Also, some of the pedometers out there are pretty crappy.)

  • Rasmus

    I would love to use Android to integrate a web community for foster kids into an app for Android. The community is private, but users would be updated with new blog posts, comments and so on.
    Our user base is very small, so hopefully this would be a great instrument to keep the kids in contact with each other. Many foster kids feel alone and isolated with their thoughts and feelings, and our users really like sharing and supporting each other.
    Hopefully this would be a source of support kid-to-kid.

  • http://www.techteenager.org Andrew

    I would make an app like Tasker, but simpler to use.

  • Flaviu

    I would like to create a personal organizer!

  • Carsten

    I would love to build a Pazaak clone (that's the popular card game from Star Wars - Knights of the Old Republic)

  • Ste Roberts

    I would like to create apps but atm I only have designs, I'm missing the know how. I would create a learn to play the guitar app with a chord dictionary, video tutorials etc.

  • Shawn Petro

    An app that connects to wireless weather stations.

  • Ivo Santos

    My ideia is to develop an app for digital geocaching, in which people can track their courses and share their achievements.

  • vlad

    Apps are what is needed to make your smartphone smart and unique.Im fond of app creating and find it really helpful to use site like Snappii where i can build apps in minutes.

  • Michael Knoll

    Would like to make an app to attach cloud services

  • Glenn Casey

    I would love to be able to build an app that tells the amazing history of my town and works with GPS locations so it tells a story when you reach a certain area of the town. The history is all about the Titanic and Lusitania and many many more things and it would be great to allow visitors experience these stories while walking around the town

  • http://b-a-f-f-e.blogspot.com/ Arnaud

    I would like to create some local museums guide

  • Matteo

    Being an history an interactive map with battles/monuments/museums

  • Nick

    You can never have enough weather apps. :)

  • http://www.salfar.com Sifte

    I would like to build an app for the bus commuters in the Barrow-In-Furness town.

  • Tom

    Count me in! I have a few ideas for apps and would love to learn how to make them happen.

  • Nina

    I would build an app for my caretakers so they can see when I need help and when a colleague is ill and things like that.

  • Steve N

    An app for bookmarking interesting sites on a map to help plan trips! Kind of like a bookmarks bar for maps

  • TKL

    I would create teaching and organization apps.

  • Kuatous

    I would love to be able to get more insight on how to square away an app for wine or a wine like environment in android

  • audienceof1

    want to create an app to track favorite wines, types and thoughts to help people remember their favorite ones.

  • Paul

    A customised job sheet entry and tracking system.

  • soul18reaver

    Would like to make an app that can store news from many sources for offline and rss feeds and also the video if it was present in the news

  • Ryan B

    I'd like to create an IM application

  • Joseph Kerr

    I would start with making a skill planner for one of my favorite MMO's. I would then build a skill/feat list and attach it to that. Finally I would include the option to have multiple characters. That's where I want to start, who knows where I will end up after, there are so many more apps to be made. Please help me get started!

  • maracine daniel marin

    a goldenpages from all over the world

  • Joona

    I want to create an app that will make me a millionaire

  • Luis

    I would like to create an app to manage my house rental business.

  • http://www.ndroid.dk Thomas Helmer

    I would create an app for my android blog

  • http://TrueFreeThinkers.org Jonathan Nguyen

    Of course, Andy the Robot on his quest for greatness

  • Joel Chan

    I would love to create an app for time tables. I am a student and I can't seem to find good apps which actually let me do my planning properly.

  • Robin Gupta

    I would create an app that has a KiLLeR AlArM with GPS and a memo facility

    (P.S. - I could nt find them together in the market)

  • http://www.lombardo-ins.com gregory m murphy

    I have an Idea to help better service my Insurance customers.

  • http://rizencreative.com John Briggs

    I want to build a hunting app map program to track animal sightings, elevation, and private/public land

  • Chris

    I'd like to build an app that replicates itself into many baby apps.

  • William N.

    Would love to be able to make my own apps. i have created very simple programs with app inventor but i would love to go way farther then just a simple app. android police would be able to get a exclusive copy of course! :P

  • Jon Carey

    Book_Me , I just bought a bookshelf and I so want to make one shelf dedicated to Android..

  • jim

    I’ve just been getting into learning App Inventor and found an online course that’s been awesome and easy to understand. I thought this was going to be complicated, but it’s really not.

    I wanted to share the site with everyone who is interested in learning App Inventor: http://AndroidAppTraining.com

  • Adhitya Varma

    A social app for students to silently discuss in the classroom. That way, one can even be absent to class and still know what is going on over there.

  • Andrew

    I'd create what I've always wanted on Android: SLR camera functionality. I actually looked into doing this myself out of frustration before discovering much of it wasn't possible.

    I'd like manual focus based on distance, using a slider. This would also enable no refocusing between shots.

    Locked exposure, enabling identical exposure between shots - particularly useful for panoramas. Manual exposure as well, for when the camera gets confused by bright lights.

    Full range of white balance presets, plus manual colour temperate input. The ability to create a custom white balance from a grey card.

    Many other things too, but those are the 3 biggies.

  • SoWhy

    Would be useful :-)

  • Larry

    I would make apps that focused on events and places in certain cities to be updated by the city employees to keep citizens and visitors aware and involved.

  • karthik

    i would love to make some new games :)

  • Jimmy

    Pretty much concerned with the profit aspect...

  • ed

    I would like to create a app that allows me to keep users to create customized resumes. With a full market of options for customers to choose from different themes and options.

  • sos

    I have a real good interest in developing, have just got into it, after learning proper Java! Looking forward to winning this! Would be a great gift as my exams are getting over next week!

  • Raaab

    I would like to create an app that silences the phone when there is a meeting scheduled in Touchdown.

  • sungam

    tic-tac-toe that controls nuclear missile

  • steve

    I'd love to create an app to track my blood glucose and insulin usage and send it to my doctor's office when requested.