Just when you thought that things had
quieted down a bit on the Palm front, this interesting bit of news
just came across the news wires. Earlier this morning, it was
reported that Matias Duarte, the man who lead that team that
developed the webOS UI, was leaving Palm. At the time, no one knew
where Duarte was heading following his departure from the mobile firm
that was recently
acquired by HP.
Things Digital is now reporting that Duarte is heading to
none other than Google. Google confirmed that Duarte will join the
company as the User Experience Director for Android.
Google is gaining quite a bit of
momentum in the smartphone market and Android-based smartphones
recently bolted ahead of Apple's iPhone according to numbers
from marker research firm NPD. The company is also taking
the fight straight to Apple and RIM with new features in Android
2.2 including native tethering/Wi-Fi hotspot, support for Adobe Flash
10.1, faster application performance, and over the air syncing for
apps and music.
The addition of Duarte is a great boon
for Google as its stock Android UI could definitely use a bit of
polish. Some manufacturers take care of this themselves by developing
their own "user experiences" such
as HTC's Sense, but it would be nice to see a more sleek
interface come straight from Google and Duarte seems like the right
man for the job.
Duarte was on
stage during CES 2009 to show off the Pre during its official
unveil. At the time, Duarte poked fun at the iPhone's lack of a
keyboard and user-replaceable battery. In the end, Palm's Pre (and
it's little brother, the Pixi) ended up being a sales
dud on both Sprint and Verizon's network. However, webOS has been
the real star of the show and is destined
to live on in future products from HP.