Complaints mar Google Android App Inventor

A user named V-RocKs, writes "This almost feels like a cruel joke!"

Google's App Inventor for Android has inspired some early complaints from users who claim they have not been able to install the software on 64-bit Windows 7 machines, and others who say the App Inventor Web site, ironically, does not display properly on Android smartphone Web browsers.

Visiting the Googleplex

Google set up a discussion group for users of the new technology, and one of the first forums was titled "adb Drivers not installing on w7 64bit."

A user named "PointZeroOne" wrote Monday morning that "adb shows up in device manager, but states cannot find drivers when pointing it at folder as per instructions. Have tested on w7 32bit and it has installed fine and can see devicewhen doing 'adb devices'."

A Google spokeswoman said she was checking into the issue, and noted "as this is beta software, there may be a couple glitches getting ironed out over the next couple of days."

Two other users reported having the same problem, including one named "tnorthcutt" who wrote "When I try to manually install the driver via Device Manager, I get 'Windows was unable to install your ADB. Windows could not finddriver software for your device. If you know the manufacturer of your device, you can visit its website and check the support section for driver software."

Another user named Raul Martinez reported that the software works fine on 32-bit Windows 7 machines, saying, "I have my Evo 4G running fine on my win7 32-bit."

While these users apparently were able download the Android App Inventor software, others complained that Google's limited beta had not yet granted them access. This should come as no surprise, as Google promised only to give access to the software in "the coming weeks," but some commenters expressed frustration anyway.

A user named V-RocKs, writes "This almost feels like a cruel joke!"

One ironic complaint comes in a forum titled "Website Broken On Android Browser." A user named "alopecoid," reports: "The App Inventor website doesn't' display properly on the Android browser. The left side of the page gets cut off, which happens consistently throughout the entire site."

The user reported trying to access the App Inventor side on a Nexus One phone running Android 2.2.

I own a Motorola Droid running Android 2.1 and ran into the same exact problem. However, I don't think this would prevent many people from using App Inventor since most would download the software from a PC or Mac web browser, rather than on their Android phones.

One ill-informed commenter wondered if an iPhone is needed to use the Android App Inventor tool.

"Do you need to plug in a cell phone to do this? Can any cell phonework or does it need to be an Iphone? How do you plug it in?" the user asked.

A more savvy commenter responded "You need an android device. I feel it is safe to say an iPhone will not work. You plug your phone using the USB cable."

Possibly as a joke, the comment ends "Sent from my iPhone."

Users of App Inventor will build applications using a Web browser and Java Web Start application, according to Google.

"Through a USB connection App Inventor connects with your phone and apps appear live as you build them. To make all this work you'll need to download the ‘App Inventor Extras' software and adjust some settings on your phone. Also make sure that you have the USB cable that allows you to connect your phone to a computer (most Android phones come with one)."

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Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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Tags smartphonesGooglesoftwareapplicationsPhonesGoogle Androidconsumer electronicsGoogle App Inventor for Android

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Jon Brodkin

Network World
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