Friday, May 28, 2010

Palm webOS Design Director Jumps Ship to Google

This news doesn't bode well for Palm and their new owner HP, which recently declared their plan to double down on webOS and take the smartphone market by storm. The now former senior director of human interface and user experience for Palm, Matias Duarte, who was the genius behind webOS's user interface, has confirmed that he will be joining Google and the Android team as their User Experience Director.

While its a shame Duarte isn't sticking around to see things through with Palm, this is a major blow for HP and paints a brighter future for Android. Duarte has worked in the past with members of the current Android team when he was the director of design for the phone maker Danger, which like webOS provided a slick user interface for their phone called the Sidekick. In an odd turn of events, Danger was co-founded by Andy Rubin, who coincidentally left Danger to start Android Inc. in 2003. Since then Android was sold to Google, Rubin became Vice President of engineering, and Duarte rejoined his former colleagues at Android.

Currently Android phones are known for sacrificing aesthetic design and a pretty UI for more functionality and improved customization features. Gingerbread, the next version of Android, is already in the works and expected to release at the end of the year. While Duarte may not have much of an influence in steering Gingerbread, expect to see his full visual influence come into play on the following versions of Android.

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