The Apple Sidekick In Your Palm 2.0
A couple of months ago I wrote a post entitled An Apple in your Palm which highlighted the many former key senior Apple Computer executives that are now working at Palm on the development of: 1) a next-generation hardware platform for a range of entirely new smartphone designs; 2) an entirely new operating system (codenamed NOVA) and mobile user interface as well as 3) a major focus on the integration of Web 2.0 applications and services.
Because of their respective professional backgrounds we have until now assumed that most of these new Palm executives were primarily working on the development of the new hardware platform (led by Jon Rubinstein – a technical guru who famously headed the iPod division at Apple and has joined Palm’s board as executive chairman as well as heading Palm’s hardware design and manufacturing) and the Web 2.0 services but little to nothing has until now ever come out about the team working on Palm’s next-generation NOVA OS and user interface.
A few days ago however we finally discovered that the man leading the charge on the OS and user interface front is no other than Matias Duarte – the famed user interface guru behind both Danger’s Sidekick and Helio Ocean interfaces (screenshots below). Since September of 2007 he has been (very quietly and secretly) working as Palm’s Senior Director, Human Interface and User Experience.
I have to admit that I am delighted to see someone with Duarte’s proven track record (he was Director of Design at Danger) finally “taking proper care” of our next UI. After languishing for (too many) years in the development stages I hope that he’s at last the man who will make all our dreams come true when Palm unveils its new OS at the end of this year…
At the same time my hopes continue to be equally high for the next-generation hardware platform that Palm is designing. Led by SVP of Product Development Mike Bell (a 16–year Apple veteran who until recently was vice president, CPU Software, in the Macintosh Hardware Division) Palm’s “product-realization group” will have to equal or surpass the significant design achievements made by both Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s new BlackBerry Bold.
I had already shared with you what a future Palm “Quatro” based on the iPhone (above) might look like and now thanks to Photoshop I’ve also managed to get a pretty good version of one based on the BlackBerry Bold (below).
To say that Palm’s repeated delays on both the OS and new hardware designs over the last couple of years has been “frustrating” would be an understatement and it’s therefore not surprising that a great many Treonauts have simply given up and unfortunately made the move to the iPhone or BlackBerry.
Having said this, I believe that it’s certainly not too late for Palm to win back the hearts, minds and wallets of the millions of “smartphoniacs” that are due to come on the market in the coming years. The fact is that smartphones continue to be the fastest growing segment in the mobile industry and one day everybody will surely have one. If Palm plays its next cards right then many of these people will undoubtedly choose one of its Treo, Centro or Quatro smartphones.
Matias Duarte now developing Palm’s next-gen UI [via engadget]
Treonauts never give up fighting…