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  1.    #1  
    Hi all,

    Hi, This is a very favorable piece on webOS and yes webOS is here to stay, (and getting a major revamp), even with the departure of Duarte. Looking at Duarte's CV, he doesn't seem to stay with a company that long!

    Most of this deals with webOS and not future devices, so I hope posting it here is the correct place!

    Take care, Jay



    Palm Loses UI Designer Duarte, But HP's webOS Revamp Won't Suffer
    By Chris Dannen | May 27, 2010

    Palm Loses UI Designer Duarte, But HP's webOS Revamp Won't Suffer | BNET Technology Blog | BNET

    Google (GOOG) has confirmed that it’s poached Palm’s (PALM) resident user interface expert, Matias Duarte. The move comes just weeks after HP (HPQ) announced it would spend an estimated $1 billion to reassert Duarte’s creation, the Palm webOS, as a viable competitor to the iPhone and Android platforms. But Duarte’s departure actually won’t matter much to the future of Palm.

    Industry reactions mostly say otherwise. Media coverage has reflected a mixture of sympathy (for Palm) and intrigue (at the idea of Google hiring someone with visual sense). The WSJ called Duarte’s defection “a real loss” and a symptom of Palm’s “post-acquisition talent drain.” But Duarte’s departure won’t hinder HP. Why? Because at this stage, Palm’s success or failure is pinned on two things Duarte had little control over: hardware and apps.

    Yes, webOS is inextricably tied to Duarte’s leadership. When he first introduced the new Palm platform at CES last year, Duarte said he felt as if he had been “handed the keys to Daddy’s convertible,” and indeed he had, as Palm’s “director of human interface and user experience.”

    But to date, his work has largely been done: webOS is a future-forward platform that rivals — if not bests — every other platform (yes, even iPhone) in ease-of-use and robustness. That may actually be part of the reason he departed for Google, which is known in developer circles for its lack of visual design sense. Google presents more fertile territory for re-invention; Palm’s UI work, at least for now, is done.

    The people who are Palm’s current linchpins are Peter Skillman, the company’s VP of design, and Mike Bell, a 17-year Apple (AAPL) veteran who has served as Palm’s VP of product development since 2007. (The importance of Palm’s other Apple veteran, CEO Jon Rubinstein, also cannot be overstated.) Skillman is largely responsible for the Palm’s trademark sense of simplicity and parsimony; according to a 2009 article in Forbes, he distributed smoothed river rocks to designers as inspiration. Bell is the company’s resident perfectionist.

    Another key player for Palm going forward will be Michael Abbott, VP of software and services. He’s the one that will be responsible for enfranchising developers, building up Palm’s app catalog, and bridging the gap between HP’s embedded device software (e.g., its touch-screen printer brains) and Palm’s platform.

    It’s not that Abbott, Skillman and Rubinstein are more important than Duarte has been; it’s that they’re more important to Palm now. The only category in which Palm categorically loses is hardware and app selection: there are only two Palm devices, the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus, and they’re inadequate competitors owing to poor battery life, quality issues and tiny memory capacities compared to their competitors (16GB and 8GB respectively).

    When HP took up the Palm flag, it wasn’t to improve webOS; indeed, webOS and its intellectual property are what pushed the purchase price so high. WebOS isn’t broken, and doesn’t need fixing. It’s the rest of the equation — devices and software — where HP will need to sow improvements.

    First up is HP’s new “Slate” product, which is rumored to be one of the first new webOS devices on the docket. The challenges in bringing an HP/Palm slate to market are many, but as the iPad has demonstrated, most of those challenges don’t have to do with UI. IPhone developers I’ve spoken to recently have indicated that the transition from iPhone to iPad (and by extension, phone to tablet) is actually rather simple: bigger screen size and a few new view controllers, like the pop-up menus that Apple uses, are about all that’s different.

    In short, Palm’s user interface and experience is the only portion of the platform that feels fully baked, and the only one where the auteur can step away and be confident in its autonomy. In two or three years, when mobile operating systems are confronted with exponentially beefier computing resources and network speeds (in the form of 4G), then perhaps Palm will need to revisit the most basic tenets of its UI. But until then, it has plenty of work it can do, with or without Duarte.
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    Interesting and thanks for the reference. Sorli...

    PS - I was trying to figure out what the big deal was with Duarte leaving and agree 110%
  3.    #3  
    HI,

    I am chomping at the bit for for the next model, as I still have a Centro as my contract is not up until Oct, (I have a 2 year contract, last time I do that, LOL). Now that Palm does not have to hoard $ since they will have very deep pockets as soon as the buyout happens. I am expecting bigger, faster and better ASAP!

    Take care, Jay
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  4. #4  
    Good find!

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