Nov 10 AT 3:41 PM Dustin Earley 18 Comments

Matias Duarte goes in-depth on Android’s new font; reminds us why Google’s lucky to have him


Despite the platforms present, past or doomed future, there’s no denying how gorgeous webOS is. Since first introduced in 2009, webOS has been praised time and time again for how intuitive, slick and well designed the OS is. And not only webOS, but the hardware it ran on. The Palm Pre. Quality wise, the hardware was lacking. But in design? It was a step forward. Of course, webOS and the Palm Pre aren’t what this post is all about. It’s about the man (or one of the men) behind webOS and the Pre, Matias Duarte, and how lucky Google is to have him on board.

Back in 2009, when the Pre was first launched, Matias described the physical design of the device as “a stone at the bottom of a riverbed, rubbed smooth over thousands of years.” Matias has a passion for design, and a way with words, that not many people possess. This couldn’t be more clear in a recent Google+ post of his detailing Android’s new font, Roboto. From that post, you can see just the kind of commitment and attention to detail Matias is bringing to Android.

If you’re a design buff, then you’ll love the way Matias talks about typography along with readability, word flow and page layout. But even if you aren’t obsessed with every line and curve that goes into a lower case “e”, you can appreciate the thought that goes into every ounce of design Matias oversees, and the vision he has for Android. In his post on Google+, he says, “emotionally we wanted Ice Cream Sandwich to enchant you.” And that he wants to make Android “a little bit more human.” But in an interview with Josh Topolsky from the Verge, he goes much more in-depth than that, commenting on why he came to work for Google in the first place,

I came here because they're winning, but also because I could not stand the thought of there being another decade of being trapped in one paradigm, of being trapped in the past just because somebody manages to grab maximum marketshare, and then that's the thing everybody uses with incremental evolution.Matias DuarteGoogle

That quote alone may be the best reason to get excited over Matias’ involvement at Google. He’s played a huge role in revolutionary products and platforms in the past. He’s brining his passion for design and attention to detail to Android now. And he’s not going to stand for another stale period in innovation and form like the one were just headed out of, courtesy of Microsoft and Windows. It’s a great time to be an Android user.

Source: Google+

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • alex

    ICS IS beautiful <3.<3 i need that Galaxy Nexus on t-mobile

    • cucking funt

      Looks like a$$ i bet hes a homo

  • xallies

    i have loved Metias’s ideas since Danger. i also am in love with WebOs which i feel is his baby. I can’t help but hope gestures become more of a predominant way of navigating the Android. Buttons on the bottom are better to be done without.

  • AppleFUD

    Sorry, but webOS. . . not so hot. It has a few cool features but all in all not that great, at least on the TouchPad. The multi-tasking actually takes you longer than it does on Android, not to mention Android brings you back where you left off. There are many aspects to webOS that could have been much better. Personally, I think RIM did a better job with webOS with their implementation on the PlayBook, and Matias is doing better things on Android.

    I read all the hype about webOS, got a TouchPad, used it for a while, really don’t care for it at all. It doesn’t bring anything “great” to the game and the features people rave about really aren’t better implementations than other platforms.

    • Dustin Earley

      Back when webOS first came out, it put everything else to shame. I remember getting a Pre close to launch day and wondering why everything else was so hideous.

    • Mike

      I think you are mistaken – RIM did not implement webOS on the Playbook at all – it was Blackberry Tablet OS. Also, I’m sorry you didn’t experience webOS on anything but the Touchpad, because it was a poor showcase for Palm’s / HP’S OS.

  • SoDark

    I LOVE his design but I don’t like his suit when he presented ICS.

  • Lane Montgomery

    Aside from the openness and customibility, THIS is why I love Android.

  • SPEnthusiast

    I don’t really like Matias’ attitude, he comes across as impudent, I can’t believe he referred to iOS and WP7′s UI’s as trash even though they’ve been getting rave reviews all over. Anyways it’s good to see Google FINALLY doing something to improve Android’s UX and UI b/c this is one area where they were behind the competition.

    • Vovicon

      I guess you’re referring at the “faux-wood” quote. I’d hardly consider this as qualifying the UI as trash.

      And interestingly, many people who have been using Android for a while are under the impression that Matias was referring to the older UI of Android and Manufacturer’s skins rather than the competitors… People maybe saw a poke at iOS and Windows Phone UIs because they aren’t perfect either.

      This guy sounds much more decent and respectful of other’s work than many in the industry.

  • Nathan

    I flash the new font onto my mytouch 3g 3.55 and with other ics themes it honestly màde my phone alive again and interesting. I haven’t been this happy with my phone for months now but the only down side is my phone is still slow but I can live with it for a few more month now. =)

    • Scotter

      Have you tried using Launcher Pro? It sped up my Nexus One and my new Amaze.

  • Nider

    I really Dont like the on-screen Back Home and Multi Tasking button on ICS..

    It reminds me the old fashion Touch Phone like WinMo..
    Why he didnt make it more revolutionary like what MeeGO, multi tasking in MeeGO is just a swipe..

  • Dags -

    He might have also – more accurately – described the physical design of the device as “a stone around the neck of Palm, dragging them down towards insolvency.”

  • mikeyDroid

    I’m a fan of Roboto, I’ve been using it on my OG droid since I found out I could. Super clean. I’ll like it even more on my Galaxy Nexus.

  • Charles

    I think there’s a typo: “He’s brining his passion for design and attention to detail to Android now.”
    brining is “the process similar to marination in which meat is soaked in brine before cooking.”
    Perhaps you meant: bringing instead?

  • ap

    WTH, shouldn’t he posting about launching details instead?

  • pritams

    Whatever he does turns out to be a goldmine …