Android CentralInterface design guru and shirt connoisseur Matias Duarte has been responsible for many of the design decisions we've seen in Android since Gingerbread. Recently the Android design boss was recognized by Fast Company as one of the top fifty designers shaping the future. However, despite the sweeping design changes he and his team have brought to Android over the past couple of years, Duarte is far from done.

Commenting on Google+ in reply to an article critical of some of Android's design inconsistencies, Duarte revealed that the work he's done so far only takes Android a third of the way towards his ultimate goal.

It's true, we still have a lot of work to do. Personally I feel like I've gotten only about a third of the way to where I want to be with regards to consistency, responsiveness, and polish. Better get back to work!

The designer purportedly made similar comments at Mobile World Congress back in February. So it seems there's undoubtedly a long-term design plan for future versions of Android, beyond the changes already introduced in Honeycomb, ICS and Jelly Bean.

For our part, we look forward to seeing the remaining two thirds of Duarte's vision.

Source: +Matias Duarte


Reader comments

Duarte: I'm 'a third of the way to where I want to be' with Android


And most manufacturers will put a skin on top of what he has done.... hiding his design. On a side note, most people don't care. Didn't Samsung say that Nexus devices were "minuscule" during the Apple trial?

Design is not just visual, it's user experience as well. The combination of user research and testing, emotional response, visual consistency and general perception are all big design tasks - especially with a lot of the negative reputation (in terms of design) Android built before Duarte came onboard. He's taken it pretty far up to this point for sure.

The skin is visual only. There are many features in 4.1 that still show in the skins (like notifications in moto's version are similar).
The hope is that the manufacturers will need to do less with their skins and this has been slowly happening.

Manufacturers need to be differentiate. So, they will make enough changes to be different. Each manufacturer does add some nice features that are not present in stock Android. I have a HTC phone, I love the way multiple calendars integrate (FaceBook, Google, Yelp). I used to have a Nexus S and the calendars did not integrate, I had to look at each app to get the events coming up. YMMV. I agree, that most skins are toning down the customizations, but each one still adds something that stock Android doesn't have.

Yes I agree 100% I prefer the extra's brought to my Galaxy S3 device from Samsung because of the Skills necessary. Stock android will never compare not in hardware or software never.. And yes I had the Galaxy Nexus wasn't impressed at all with it's boring stock feel...

LMFGDAO! Keep trying to justify your mistake of a purchase. Touchwiz is garbage and runs like crap even on the SG3. Runs like horseshit compared to Gnex. In fact everyone I know that got an SG3 put on AOKP JB as soon as they got it to get rid of Touchwiz because of how retarded it runs and looks. LOL!

Claiming someone else's purchase was a mistake is illogical. You dont know why they purchased it, what features they'll use, how much money they had for the purchase. I think the point he was trying to make was that the nexus hardware will always be slightly behind the curve and the OEMs are starting to do a better job at adding value to their skins.

...some people will never understand the simple minimalist beauty that is stock android. What you call boring most call beautiful. An ugly and inconsistent UI plus a bunch of useless features does not make for a better experience.

There's a whole thread on the xda forums of people loving touchwiz. Average consumers like its features... except for s-voice.

I wish OEMs do away with their fetish for custom skins that are actually not as beautiful as they would like to argue, I wish Matias Duarte's original design was the one that was used on all Android smartphones and tablets. That would be so incredible. And that would solve so many problems.

As far as the future of Android's design consistency is concerned, I think its going to be much better looking than any existing mobile OS design language. Look at the new Google+ app. It's the most visually appealing social app available for any mobile platform today. Also see the new card interface in Google Search for Android. The card layout of Google Now is truly incredible. Google's minimalistic designs are reaching an age of maturity, from where they'll get exponentially better. Keep doing the good work you are doing on Android Matias. Here's a genuine fan of your work.

What a difference in attitude between this and the ultimate display of arrogance from Apple, with their infamous internal document which sums up what the perfect smartphone (and consequently mobile OS) is like... Too bad they are lecturing us one chapter at a time!

Man, Android is the way to go in more ways than one!

Kudos, Matias Duarte!

Really disappointing that you guys linked the response, but not the original article that prompted the response - presumably because that article was an editorial from another android site, and based on all the feedback there, the article was well-written, insightful, and accurate. The original article was at least as valuable a read than the response was.

I added that other site on Google Reader recently and have found myself heading there more and more. Nobody can beat the amount of information of AC and the timeliness with which they post it, but it's starting to feel more like it's just an aggregator and no longer a place with any real in-depth articles or breaking news.

I agree! Give credit where it's due. In this case, Android Police's article is more worth mentioning than Duarte's comment.

Was that the article that started this whole thing? I mean, I'd like to think so too, but I also would like to know for sure. It was a good, informative read.

Wow, super awesome article.

AC, it's been really good, but I think I need to start reading other Android blogs. We can still be friends, though! (Or you could just link to excellent article, even if their on other blogs.)

Excellent, by the time he completes that vision, my android phone will feel like the webOS I knew and loved that he had such a hand in? :)

Based on what I've been seeing so far, I'd say tat's likely. I think we're going to get a version of Android that is what WebOS was always aiming to be, only on far better hardware and in a more popular form factor.

Now if we could just get proper UI multitasking working (Yes, I know the OS itself multitasks. Doesn't do you any good if you can't utilize it as a user!) with maybe some kind of... I dunno... CARD format? That would be pretty freakin' awesome.

I feel sorry for Iphone users who are stuck in a stagnant closed OS that will never change and keep looking like 2007 forever lmffgdao!

I feel sorry for people that have to bring up Apple/iPhone in every single article about Android. It is getting so old, lame and pathetic. Grow up man.

Duarte was the driving force behind WebOS I wish Google would have bought Palm so that they could use most of Palm' WebOS awesome UI, besides the thousands of patents that predate anything Aplle has for iPhone. The card interface for multitasking was and still is the best around. Also the swiping up down right left for everything worked very intuitively. Bring Synaptic too.

Duarte is the MAN!! Cant wait to see where he takes android!!! its already a COMPLETELY different experience than what he started with and its only going to get better... byt the time we see "otter pop" or "peach cobbler" it will be ridiculous!! lol