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Google's Matias Duarte interviewed, says Honeycomb the future of Android

Engadget scored a lengthy interview with Matias Duarte, Google's Director of User Experience and the man behind much of the UI direction of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and 3.0 Honeycomb.

In one his first interviews since joining Google, Duarte talks about his time at rival Palm, as well as key Gingerbread and Honeycomb design decisions made over the past seven months. Duarte also discusses the future of Android on phones and tablets. He stops short of confirming that Honeycomb itself will be heading to Android phones, but says that the design decisions seen in Honeycomb are "absolutely the future of Android." This in itself is great news, and something that should have everyone excited about Android in 2011.

If you're interested in the future direction of Android, and the thought that goes into designing the platform and its UI then this interview is definitely worth a look. Check it out for yourself after the jump. [Engadget]

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • Ok Google executives are no longer allowed to talk about any future OS until I get the official gingerbread update on my N1. Android law #1.
  • Tell me about it. At this rate, cyanogen 7 will be here before the official OTA!
  • Heh. On another note, this Matias Duarte guy is awesome. Engadget guy comes off a little Woody Allen'ish.
  • gingerbread doesn't really add anything to your phone. there's some dev updates, and NFC. You're not missing anything. Even the CES phones are being announced with android 2.2, not gingerbread, and certainly the manufacturers won't waste their time and effort for such a minute update.
  • The sleekness of the new UI is something I want, the keyboard would be a welcome change, as well as the new copy and paste feature. So it does add some things I want although I would agree that it isn't as big of a change as Froyo was. Regardless it shouldn't take this long to start pushing updates, even a signed passion zip file would make me happy. I'll probably have a new phone by the time they update this one. Lol.
  • If you want visual improvements, you the new HTC Sense on top of Gingerbread is the slickest thing I have ever seen on a mobile device!
  • That video is from September last year. Where is it?
  • My guess is that once honeycomb is final, (and there's a honeycomb on google's lawn), THEN google will update the nexus phones. And for all other phones, i'm not sure if they'll even get updated to honeycomb anymore.. Since they all have skins, they won't see the new android design in honeycomb anyway. And if there's no other direct user enhancements in honeycomb, manufacturers and carriers would likely determine that update a waste of time & effort as well. hopefully i'm wrong though
  • maybe she shouldn't have worn those heels
  • What a surprise. I can't check out the interview on my fascinate. I see the flash logo and my blood pressure skyrockets. Seriously, to hell. With vz and Samsung.
  • I feel that we can't do much for old video in flash but at least the new content should be mobile friendly from the get-go. I hate when some flash doesn't work on my N1.
  • Works fine on my EVO.
  • This makes it job #1 for GOOGLE to set standards as to what the phone vendors and carriers must do with the software updates. Fragmentation is a big problem and getting bigger. Every vendor is releasing new phones while more than capable hardware is still stuck on earlier software builds (see any Galaxy S phone). Time for that to be addressed.
  • Unless you bought an Android Developer Phone, a Nexus One, or a Nexus S, Google has nothing to do with the phone in your hands. Nothing. Zero. Google only supports their phones. When you buy a phone from a carrier, that's who supports your phone. All Google does is license their closed applications, and provide the free source code for the OS. All this screaming at Google for updates is silly. They already updated the source code, and their applications. There is nothing more they need to do, or they can do.
  • The interviewers make up person needs fired. He looks like a corpse. I know. Ive seen a lot of corpses.
  • oops
  • I like the part when the off screen person says "I think Motorola said February"
  • I really hope he will push Google to use GPU acceleration in the UI of future updates, since Romain Guy and the rest seemed pretty confident that GPU acceleration won't fix Androids UI issues
  • There he is! The UI Mack!
  • Duarte comes across as a humble guy. :)
  • I agree. Really seems like a guy you could go and have a drink with.
  • Matias Duarte was a huge coup for Google. He is an expert's expert on UI design and from what we have seen of Honeycomb, this could prove to be his finest output thus far.
  • I hope Honeycomb will be better than the new market interface, it is ugly as hell, far from being an improvement IMHO... This get me worried about any new "innovation" they have in store... If this guy is responsible it should be shooted with a paintball gun...
  • I from is an Istanbull. Baseball been beddy beddy good is me.
  • He was the master behind Palm's WebOs UI and now he is trying to rebuild the whole entire UI with Android. Honeycomb is the beginning of the new UI experience from Android. The best is yet to come from Mr. Duarte! I'm excited.
  • Android is going to dominate 2011 and hopefully be #1 when the year is over..08 an 09 was blackberry but haven't heard much from them lately. So glad I jumped ship. Loving my dx and with honeycomb and dual processors coming its only getting better.
  • I have been waiting patiently for Gingerbread for my N1. I am waiting for the update so then I will root it and ad cyanogen's latest and greatest. Apps 2 sd card ect. It must be just around the corner, come on Google. I bought the MyTouch 4G and have it running the launcher pro and it looks just like the N1, 3d app scrolling and everything. Going to keep my N1 forever and hopefully snag one of those new tegra running phones, hopefully T-Mobile will grab the tegra running LG and I would be a very happy camper. I just love my N1, just got it back from HTC and they installed a new main board and the touch screen problem is completely gone.
    Thank You Google and HTC
    PS Please send us Gingerbread.
  • I'm not so sure about a button-less Android. Maybe on tablets (though still it could suck), but it will never work on a phone, where physical buttons are way better than capacitive ones. Will be interesting to see how they make this honeycomb tablet OS work on a phone. Homescreen like on the tablets will never work for a phone size screen.
  • I'd be willing to bet that Honeycomb for phones will be a phone optimized version of Android similar to the way Apple made iOS for their phones different then for the iPads. This will be the point where Android splits off and becomes two different OS versions for phones and tablets. P.S. Capacitive buttons are excellent and much cleaner looking. No need for actual buttons except for on physical keyboards anymore.
  • The difference between a tablet and a phone is not great enough to warrant two different OSs. After all, the phone portion could end up being simply a loadable module of the the OS. No reason to do two versions. Iphone had to do it in two versions because IOS is not very good at plugable device drivers, which is what you get when you live in a hardware mono-culture.
  • That sounds good to me, but my point was that the UX will be and should be different on the two devices, even if just slightly. Those details will make a huge difference. You're right they don't have to be different OSs, but if not they have to be different implementations of the same OS. My response was to the idea that the UX would be the same on Android tablets and phones.
  • Button less tablets makes alot of sense. His explanation raised my brow I was like wow I get it. Even if it did happen on phones u don't have to buy that phone. Android doesn't promote such closed standards only options your guys worry about alot of nothing sometimes. I must say the touch buttons on my Evo are AMAZING on some of the most responsive buttons I've ever used.
  • also I love cleaning the screen and knowing there's no crevice I missed and having that smooth feeling across the entire slab.
  • The future of my Nexus One is Gingerbread. I hope.