Matías Duarte leaving Palm for Google (Update: Confirmed)
As reported by All Things D, one of the men who proved crucial to the development of webOS UI is leaving Palm: Matías Duarte is headed over to Mountain View and taking up an office at Google. As Palm’s Vice President of Human Interface and User Experience, Duarte and his team were responsible by-and-large for making webOS look and behave the way it looks and behave. Presumably, Duarte will be taking a similar role at Google and be working on Android - in fact he held a like position when he worked at Helio and Danger (makers of the Sidekick, since gobbled-up by Microsoft) prior to coming to Palm.
This leaves a big gaping hole at the top of level of Palm’s webOS development team. No matter how fast or multi-tasking an operating system is, it needs to look good and be easy to use to truly succeed (see how fast Android has taken off with newer revisions). With Palm headed into the land of HP this summer, the opportunities for somebody looking to fill that vacancy could be quite tempting. Perhaps Mr. J Allard, formerly of Microsoft, could be talked into being interested?
Either way, we’re sad to see Duarte leaving Palm, especially with such a game-changing move happening with the purchase by HP, and wish him best of luck wherever he lands.
Update: Engadget has confirmed that Duarte will become Google's "User Experience Director for Android."