In previous post, I briefly discussed Scratch as a great way to learn about programming concept and principles without learning the nitty gritty. If you are an educator or just a common user it's a great way to be introduce to some basic programming knowledge. If you delve into the Scratch website, you would notice that one of the companies contributing to the development of Scratch is Google!!
Now if or when you are ready to make a jump from Scratch to something bigger, consider APP Inventor by Google. Inventor utilized the same interface as Scratch and would feel right at home. Inventor's purpose is to enable those with out the background knowledge to develop applications for the Android OS. Sure, I will admit that initially I figured that there would be influx of not so great Android Applications, but I could see how it could be used to introduce users to mobile application development.
Fortunately you do no need an Android Powered phone to test any applications you make since Inventor enables you to download an emulator to use and test out your application. Subsequently, the Inventor has an online tutorial with a a step by step on how to make HelloPurr, which is equivalent to hello world program that many programmers are familiar with. HelloPur is a simple introductory app that enables you to create an Android application in which when you touch the picture of a cat on the phone and it purrrs. Application Inventor has a bit of a learning curve but you could make some complex applications with the right intiative.
You will need a Gmail account to access Application inventor.