Head Android designer Matias Duarte talks Android Wear and the death of mobile

Head Android designer Matias Duarte talks Android Wear and the death of mobile
Matias Duarte is one of our favorite people in the mobile sphere. He is an amazing designer, who was directly responsible for the overhaul of Android with Ice Cream Sandwich, and he has been one of the voices behind Google's push towards unifying its product design. Recently, he sat down at the Accel Design Conference to talk about design and the death of mobile.

OK, so Matias wasn't really talking about the death of mobile as you might expect, he's just really good at creating an interesting sound byte. What he really meant was that designers should stop designing for devices, and instead should be focusing on designing for users. The variations from device to device should then be taken care of through responsive design principles. This means that rather than designing your software as separate products for the web, phones, tablets, etc., designers should create responsive layouts that can adapt, and leave more time to focus on what is best for the user. Of course, this sounds great, but it should be noted that the implication is that designers shouldn't be focusing on platforms that don't really support responsive design (aka iOS). 

Duarte also went on to say that designers should really apply for tickets to Google I/O this year, because design is going to be a big part of the conference. Android Wear will obviously also be a big part of the conference, and Wear will be part of Google's responsive design push. 

Overall, the talk is quite interesting, but fair warning for the video below, Matias Duarte is talking with the editor-in-chief of The Verge, Joshua Topolsky. We know that Josh is something of a polarizing figure, so if you have bad reactions to him, it might be best to not watch. Or, if you just want to skip through, the good stuff starts about halfway in. 


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16 Comments

1. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Remember folks.....Duarte was one of the main folks working on WebOS... Its no coincidence that since he started working for Google...Android has gotten sooo much better.

3. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Better? ,, webOS had potential .. Too bad it didn't made it

8. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Are you questioning Android getting better over the years? Because it has...and when Duarte came on board is when Android went thru its radical change....starting with Honeycomb. WebOS downfall wasnt the software...but the hardware....and lack of vision from Palm. If BB keep going the way they are...they will be next.

2. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Duarte > Ive

9. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Yea...especially for being more original.

4. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

Michael, it should be noted that Duarte actually started with Honeycomb. Although it was only for tablets, things like the recent apps tiles started there along with a few other of his designs.

10. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Yea...many forget this....I guess since HC was only for tablets. And got quickly replaced by ICS which was universal for all devices.

11. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Duarte was brought in while Honeycomb was already in development, so his influence was limited on it. You can certainly still see his influence, but I tend to start with ICS both because it was the version where he was there from the start, and because Honeycomb is little more than an asterisk in Android history. It was never released to open source, and only existed for a short time before it was superseded. So, I have no problem starting the story with ICS.

5. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I am not sure why Duarte even gives The Verge the time of day. They are the biggest Apple loving site in the history of the internet. He should talk more with other websites.

14. kdealltheway

Posts: 94; Member since: Oct 21, 2012

If you follow The Verge then you should know that Joshua is a pro Android guy, especially Nexus 5. He uses Sony Z1 as a daily driver. Nilay Patel is totaly another story, pure Apple fanatic... There is no Android hate over there, maybe some Samsung hate thou :)

6. esperanza

Posts: 49; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Is he a UXI designer/developer or a product designer? Both?

7. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

He's Android's main UX designer, but from interviews he's given before it seems he also has a strong say in how Nexus devices are designed.

12. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Both. He was involved with the design of the Nexus 4, 5, 7, and 10, not to mention the Nexus charging orb, which was basically his old Palm Touchstone design repurposed.

13. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

Why does everyone hate Joshua topolsky

15. kdealltheway

Posts: 94; Member since: Oct 21, 2012

Because he's got his own opinion and this is internet...

16. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Duarte was the genius behind webOS. Jon Rubinstein was the genius behind Palm. When both left it was clear that Palm couldn't survive. It's no coincidence that Jelly Bean's UX is so reminiscent of webOS. If only there was proper hardware to put into, the Pre could have really dashed the iPhone's surge in 2009. Kind of like having a twin-turbo 5.0 and putting it in a Pinto.

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