Palm webOS Design Director Heads To Google

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This can’t be good. Matias Duarte has left Palm for Google.

The now former senior director of human interface and user experience for Palm was the genius behind webOS’s user interface and his departure does not bode well for new owner HP. Google has confirmed with All Things D that Duarte is joining his former Danger cohort Andy Rubin and the Android team.

While Duarte was design chief at Helio, Rubin approached the now defunct team about an open source platform he was working on at Google. Had Helio released the Ocean 3 with Android and not the Linux-based smartphone OS that was being built internally, Helio might still be around. But that’s neither here nor there.

This is a major coup for Google and paints a bright future for Android. It could also put an end to the fragmentation of the mobile OS and nullify the need for companies like HTC and Motorola to build custom skins for Android.

It’s a shame Matias won’t be sticking around to see things through at Palm. But then again, he won’t have to deal with implementing webOS on a printer.