Google just released AIDE, their Android Java IDE. It's probably a good idea that they provide a development tool rather than rely on tools they don't control. Most platform vendors provide tools. What's different about AIDE is that it's designed to run on Android itself.
This means you can develop Android apps on an Android tablet or smartphone. This sounds really intriguing at first until you start imagining what this might really be like. A tablet might make some sense, but as someone who developed software on a Mac with a 9 inch screen, it's not ideal. Yes, today's tablets have a higher resolution than my circa 1985 Mac, so there are more pixels in a 9 inch tablet screen. Still, developers generally want as much screen real estate as they can get. The minimum screen size for developers here at Real Software is 27 inches and some have multiple monitors. I would expect the many Real Studio users would be similarly configured. A 9 inch tablet screen doesn't seem like a very productive environment for developing an application. The only thing worse that I can think of would be attempting to develop software on a 4 inch smartphone screen. Oh, wait. That's exactly what Google is suggesting. The screenshots and demo videos seem to focus more on using a smartphone than on the tablet.
I can see the novelty of this but it doesn't seem at all practical. Just because you can create an IDE that runs on a 4 inch screen doesn't mean you should. Also compiling, even to Java byte code, is processor-intensive which I'd expect is going to drain the battery faster than a lot of other activities. Developing also involves a lot of typing. The touch-based keyboards on smartphones and tablets work fine for the kind of work that is typically done on those devices. But development usually involves typing a lot of code and a full-sized, tactile keyboard is really required for reasonable productivity.
The user reviews on the site are all quite positive which surprises me. Perhaps they are just caught up in the novelty of it and haven't considered the productivity issue.
Seems like AIDE should be designed primarily to run on a PC but perhaps include a version that runs on Android so that developers can get to their projects from anywhere. This would likely require Google to have a sync system like Apple's iCloud and Google certainly has the infrastructure to easily provide it. Heck, the projects could just be another type of Google Document.
Is it just me? What are your thoughts?