Key WebOS developer switches to Android

It seems HP has had a little setback in their Palm purchase. Matias Duarte, one of the core designers of Palm's WebOS, has quit. Duarte took a job with Google as the User Experience Director for Android.

InfoWorld is speculating that the job change indicates that Duarte has little confidence in the success of WebOS, HP, or a combination of the two. This is bad news for HP, they recently put down $1.2 billion to purchase Palm. Most assume when HP purchased Palm they wanted to get their hands on WebOS. By integrating WebOS into HP's hardware they were hoping to compete with Apple and Google in the mobile market.

Duarte is known within the industry for his UI design talents, he worked on the UI for Helio and the Sidekick, so his switch to Google is a big blow to HP. One of their best talents has switched to the other team. With a position open at HP now maybe Robbie Bach or J. Allard will join the WebOS team. Both were high level Microsoft employees in the Entertainment and Devices division. Either one could be a valuable resource for HP. Bach was an active part of the development for Windows Phone 7 and Allard was working on Microsoft's now abandoned Courier tablet device. 

It will be interesting to see what Duarte brings to Google to improve the Android OS.

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11 Comments

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warwagon said,
Yep Palm and the web OS put the nail in the coffin the MOMENT they went with sprint over Verizon.

Because the US market is the only one that matters right?

People need to start realizing that the is a different between an OS and a GUI. Both Android and WebOS are linux. The difference is the GUI that runs on top of it. WebOS has no advantage over Android. WebOS was made for a specific hardware and Android has more drivers to run in more hardware. In GUI terms, WEbOS presents great ideas in terms of how to switch applications using the cards paradigm, but I'm sure those mechanisms are patented by Palm and are now owned by HP, so Duarte cannot just bring them to Android anyways. This move only shows that Duarte is aware that between a linux OS for phones that runs in only one hardware manufacturer (WebOS) and a linux OS for phones that runs in many hardware and has already thousands of apps (Android), the winner will be the later. There is simply no market space for yet another linux based OS for phones.

Charles Keledjian said,
People need to start realizing that the is a different between an OS and a GUI. Both Android and WebOS are linux. The difference is the GUI that runs on top of it. WebOS has no advantage over Android. WebOS was made for a specific hardware and Android has more drivers to run in more hardware. In GUI terms, WEbOS presents great ideas in terms of how to switch applications using the cards paradigm, but I'm sure those mechanisms are patented by Palm and are now owned by HP, so Duarte cannot just bring them to Android anyways. This move only shows that Duarte is aware that between a linux OS for phones that runs in only one hardware manufacturer (WebOS) and a linux OS for phones that runs in many hardware and has already thousands of apps (Android), the winner will be the later. There is simply no market space for yet another linux based OS for phones.
The kernel is based on Linux but it's not Linux. The environment is custom and developed separately.

As the article say; it is nothing more than speculation. And, what the article doesn't say is what Google offered him to make the jump. Now I am only speculating, albeit maybe HP put someone else in charge of the WEB OS project and he didn't like that.

Xero said,
Shame, WebOS has a lot of potential.

had potential is more like it, they had their chance and it failed. i honestly don't see good things for palm.