Senior Palm designer ditches WebOS for Android

Palm’s senior director of Human Interface and User Experience has ditched WebOS for Google’s Android.

Indeed, Matias Duarte has been named the new Experience Director for Android at the hallowed Googleplex complex in Mountain View, California.

So, what does Matias Duarte’s departure mean for both companies?

Well, John Paczkowski of AllThingsD opined that Duarte’s decision to quit Palm is a real loss for Hewlett-Packard, which had planned to “double down” on its newly acquired WebOS.

“Duarte’s prowess with user experience and information design is well known in the industry. Before he landed at Palm in 2007, Duarte was design chief at Helio. Prior to that, he led the team that created the Danger Hiptop mobile device,” wrote Paczkowski.

“So, as I said, this is a real loss for Palm as it heads to its new home at HP – and a bittersweet moment for Duarte who had great hopes for Palm’s reinvention.”

However, Phandroid’s Quentyn Kennemer noted that Duarte’s expertise could help Google design a “more user friendly” UI for the popular Android OS.


“It will be pretty exciting to see how Google uses Duarte’s expertise for future versions of Android,” explained Kennemer.

“While there are still many of us who believe vanilla Android is the greatest thing since Android’s debut (come on, sliced bread isn’t that great anymore), there are still a ton of people who thinks Android’s UI could stand to be a bit more user friendly.”

Finally, Nilay Patel of Engadget mused that “things could get crazy” for both Palm and Google.

“If you’ll remember, Matias previously worked on Sidekick with Android head Andy Rubin, so it’s a reunion of sorts for these two – we’re pretty excited to see where they take Android in the future.

“As for Palm, well, we’re sure HP has plenty of talented designers waiting to lead webOS into the wild world of tablets, netbooks and, uh, printers, so we’ll see what happens there – things could get crazy on both sides of this transition.”