Google Labs just announced the existence of Breadcrumb, which is a mobile learning app creator. Information is very sketchy, but according to the project site:
“Breadcrumb enables you to create a variety of mobile learning applications and allows you to make your application work with only three additions to plain text. Infinitely scalable, easy to create, and readable on Internet-enabled smart-phones or computers, Breadcrumb gives you maximum output for the development time.
Learn about some use cases:
- Help data-center technicians troubleshoot problems on the datacenter floor.
- Teach novice nurses how to interpret patient symptoms the way expert nurses do.
- Educate new managers about how the decisions they make affect the happiness of their teammates.
- Assist a new learning and development professional who wants to choose a survey tool.
- Engage kids in a choose-your-own-adventure style, text-based learning game.”
Breadcrumb is supposed to enable app creation without programming. From what I can gather from the discussions on the project page, it seems to use a wiki-like syntax. As of this writing, the trial app creator is broken (as you can gather from reading the comments) and Google doesn’t even have any documentation up yet, so this project is obviously in its very early stages. You should probably check the project site regularly for updates.
Elliott Masie says “I am very excited to see this Google extension into the world of Mobile Learning. This will provide the beginning of an easy, no-cost path for organizations to build learning content and simulations. Can’t wait to see how learning professionals will play and extend this in the months ahead.”
This is worth keeping an eye on, if CNET is correct. They report that Google’s Android mobile OS will start to dominate (along with Nokia’s Symbian) the worldwide mobile market by 2014. At the end of 2009, Android had just 3.9% market share, but in four years that number is expected by one source to be 29.6%. Apple’s iOS, by contrast is expected by this same source to increase market share only from 14.4% to 14.9%. Another source actually expects Apple’s share to fall to just 10.9% of the worldwide market by 2014.
According to Bill Gurley, the rise of Google and relative fall of Apple in the mobile arena can be attributed to differences in their respective business models. Suffice it to say that Google wants to go the mass market route and be the mobile OS of the masses. Apple, on the other hand, seems content to concentrate on the high-end consumer. There are risks in this approach for Apple. Look at what happened in the desktop arena. They had a much better system than Microsoft, and the folks at Redmond played catch up for a long time. Remember the joke that “Windows 95 = Apple ’87?” But they kept poking away at it and now, with Windows 7, Apple’s clear-cut superiority is no longer obvious. Gurley says:
“Additionally, the more of these vendors that build on Android, the more Android will evolve for the better. The number of applications will increase, and the problems will get worked out. Just like Microsoft worked its way from Windows to Windows 3 and eventually to Windows 7, Android will improve with time as well.”
What this means for education is that any development that allows easy learning content creation on Google mobile phone OSs should be watched, because it is eventually going to be an Android world out there!