[Poll] Should Google Poach WebOS Designers and Developers?


Well, it’s Friday. We like to pick your brains on Fridays. This time, we’re wondering what you think about the latest happenings over at the HP camp. If you haven’t heard, HP has officially discontinued WebOS. The TouchPad and any WebOS smartphones will no longer be offered for sale. Of course, HP probably won’t just throw WebOS into the trashbin – licensing opportunities for third party OEMs may become an option sometime down the line.

But would this not be a perfect opportunity for Google to try and entice HP employees who worked on WebOS to join the Android team? They’ve already picked up Matias Duarte, the man responsible for all of the new design changes in Honeycomb and the forthcoming Ice Cream Sandwich.

I’m sure there are still some very, very valuable talented developers and designers at HP who probably feel slighted by this move and would want nothing more than to jump on the train that’s actually going somewhere.

This is not to say that Android’s current team isn’t getting the job done – they most certainly are. But the more the merrier, I always say, and I’m sure Duarte wouldn’t mind having some of his old team back to help shape the future of Android.

[polldaddy poll=5437093]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Didn’t Google already do that a few months back!?

    1. They Only took the main guy Durante. Funny how mist webos users hate honeycomb.

  2. Yes, Matias Duarte.

    1. They’e had Matias for quite some time.

      1. He really is a great guy, you can see it when he talks during interviews.

        1. maybe. but that’s what they said about Tiger. and Bernie.

        2. Why don’t you wait and see what he does to Android before you anoint him as “great”

          1. you mean like honeycomb ?

    2. He’s Android’s UX Director

  3. If Google grabs some of the WebOS Engineers,Google should have devision dedicated to user experience that Matias Duarate can lead. Still have Android Engineers still make powerful software, but have the WebOS develop new user interfaces that will drive android in the future.

  4. well Android definitely needs some UI people ….

    1. get them, add their best features to Android and patent everything…before apple does.

    2. Android needs some graphic design people. I think the UI is fine. Apple copied the notification manager elements of the UI, so that says something. The notification manager was a much better UI than Apple’s “badges”. Android could use some graphic design to improve the visual appearance, but that’s not the same thing as UI.

  5. WebOS multitasking is light years ahead of any other platform. Incorporating some of the brain power that devised it can only help.

    1. i’m so tired of hearing how great webOS is/was from the fanboys. the market disagreed with you – the loud vocal tiny minority. if it was so great it would have succeeded. stop making excuses. there was something very wrong with the OS. now please just let it die. we don’t want any of it to corrupt and dirty our beloved and successful Android. and you fanboys are welcome to join the Android community. just please tone down your immaturity and annoying factor. thank you.

      1. I’m probably stating the obvious here, but immaturity is essentially defined by shouting down anyone who has an opinion that differs from yours. Did you own a WebOS product? if not, you’re not really speaking from a platform of authority. WebOS had many problems, for sure, but the multitasking was better than what Android has.

        Again stating the obvious, but which flavor of our “beloved and successful” Android are you concerned with being corrupted? Sense? MotoBlur? Vanilla? GTFO with your condescension.

        @DRH I didn’t say — nor do i think — that the entire software platform was lightyears ahead, just the way the multitasking was implemented.

        1. i have used Palm products exclusively since the Palm III in 1998/1999 all the way up to the Palm Centro. i waited in line on launch day for the original Palm Pre only to return it 2 days later. i went back to my Centro until i got my EVO 4G on launch day and have been happy ever since. i just get tired of hearing how far better webOS is over everything else given the fact that it failed. and HTC Sense brings great value to the Android platform. good luck.

          1. Please don’t mistake what I’m saying. I, too, went from a Pre to an EVO 4G and haven’t looked back. I’m in love with my phone and the Android platform.

            I do, however, think that while WebOS was fatally flawed it did have some brilliant ideas. I loved the multitasking. I loved the integrated messaging. As much as I think Android is the best OS in the mobile space, there is always room for improvement and the brains behind WebOS’ best features would be well placed on the Android team.

          2. Jaileer, be careful, you’re being reasonable on an online comment board.

          3. Remember people don’t say WebOS is superior, they say WebOS’s multitasking is superior which is true.

      2. “if it was so great it would have succeeded”

        I’ll just leave this here:

      3. I disagree. The OS wasn’t perfect, but that it’s not why it failed. It failed because no single company besides Apple can succeed with their own OS anymore. Their only chance is to join a strong ecosystem like Android, and benefit from that, rather than start from scratch one more ecosystem.

        This is why I get annoyed when others sometimes blame Android for not getting them profits as high as Apple. Well guess what. They would’ve been in a situation a lot worse if it wasn’t for Android, and each and every one of them made their own OS. So they should be happy that Android at least gave them the opportunity to remain relevant in a world where the iPhone exists.

      4. The irony of this statement almost made my head explode. That’s like saying the market disagrees that Ubuntu is slick. I think it’s superior to Windows in many ways. Each person is entitled to their own opinion. Just because someone has a dissenting idea doesn’t make them “immature.” That’s a logical fallacy. The market didn’t necessarily disagree. The Nexus One didn’t sell too well, if you’ll recall….

        1. People speak of the ‘market’ as if it is some individual that is an absolute arbiter of quality. There’s a lot of crap on the market and there’s premium stuff on the market. Crap can be very profitable if it is sold at the right price and good stuff fails because it is priced too high.

      5. I’m probably stating the obvious here, but immaturity is essentially defined by shouting down anyone who has an opinion that differs from yours.


        As much as an Android Enthusiast I am, WebOS had a better Multitasking experience overall. We could definitely use their engineers in helping upgrading the U.I for the next Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 or J**** 5.0 U.I

      6. There’s a difference between creating good technology and creating an ecosystem. Google knew how to market android in a way that would create a strong ecosystem around it. HP just had software.

      7. As many people have already said here, just because something fails doesn’t mean it’s worse. Take VHS/Betamax, most experts (not the media) were in consensus that Betamax was technically superior but many factors lead VHS to win out such as cheap licencing, earlier to market with 2 hour format, the porn industries adoption of VHS and other reasons. This is just one example but I’m sure there are many others. Perhaps WebOS would have had better take up if they included more porn app support?

    2. If it were light years ahead, it wouldn’t have died. HP knows how to market a good product… kinda. But the software is crap. Windows Phone/Nokia is next :) Followed by RIM :)

      1. Just having a great product does not constitute success. One must market and grow it properly.

      2. I completely disagree. Things can be technological marvels but still not marketable. This is the case with WebOS in my opinion. It’s really reinforcing how the market is maturing and having an ecosystem with thousands of apps is the only way to survive in the smartphone space.

        1. Hell, don’t forget about Palm’s OTHER forgotten-through-drama-and-attrition OS – BeOS. Even by today’s standards there’s still some GREAT stuff about it, but it tried to thrive in a time when a business case couldn’t really be made for another proprietary desktop operating system, and it never really found another successful niche. When Palm acquired the company there was a lot of hope that it would become the next PalmOS, but then WebOS happened instead, and the rest is recent history.

          (It also had a few major architectural issues, such as relying on compiler-specific ABIs for the messaging and SDK and so on, but those weren’t insurmountable.)

    3. I may not agree with how many have responded to you, but let’s be real. WebOS failed not once but twice. That is not simply the fault of the corporate owners. Palm was always the underdog & eventually ran out of money. No such luck with HP. They have piles of cash. They had no idea how to use/market/sell webOS. Funny that is the same boat that palm found itself in.

      One great feature does not an OS make.

      1. HP is failing in many other areas.

        1. Maybe so but as long as their imaging division remains their cash cow, & it will for a long time, the loss of webOS means little to them.

  6. yes cherry pick the good talent.

  7. Aren’t companies always headhunting? I know I sporadically get calls even though my resume is not posted anywhere and I’ve made it clear to agencies that I’m not interested in moving. This just mean that WebOS developers could be more interested in outside offers.

    1. Well isn’t it nice to be an important person that companies call you with out even asking. I would love that lol.

  8. WebOS sucked. There is no need for the designers/engineers to be working with Google. We got Duarte, that’s enough.

    1. you, sir, are wrong.

  9. Yes they should. And have them redo the stock android look.

  10. With Matias, I think they already have the most important guy.

    1. agreed, webOS was kinda clean looking but it sucked so bad lol.
      Android could definitely use UI people…..hire from the MIUI team

  11. Sing with me – “Let me entertain you” The WebOS is gone and “Will have a real gooood time” with Android

    1. lol

  12. Not so sure they can “Poach” them….. maybe they can just hire them since they’re unemployed. ;-)

  13. If not, i think HP should do what google does with a lot of failed projects and dump the code out to open source =) I for one would love to play with WebOS at that level.

  14. Google needs to try and work out a bargain bin deal for some WebOS patents so they can incorporate some of the awesome features (cards perhaps?) into Android.

    When I saw the first demo videos of WebOS I almost pooped on myself (especially since I was using WinMo 6.5 at the time). It felt so fresh and innovative. I’d hate to see it just die.

  15. Palm should never have bought Handspring. Handspring should have bought Palm.

  16. WebOS was a great OS it just never had the hardware. If WebOS designers and devs joined the Android team, Android would be vastly improved.

  17. Yes, they did, you are right

    Final View Company

  18. WebOS has some very good features and it has great potential but Palm did not have the money to take it where it could have gone nor the advertisement. HP are bunch of numnuts anyways when it comes to PC’s and tablets. Android should not go after the features of WebOS but the super talented people. Their loss Android’s gain anyday.

  19. matias should know

  20. Of course! It’s really easy to hate on another phone OS because you like yours alot, but WebOS was a fantastic little system that just couldn’t get itself off the ground.
    It had a pretty cool interface, fantastic multi-tasking and such, and there is no reason such talented developers should be let go like that.

  21. They should try and buy palms patents instead.

  22. They should definitely pick up the designers.

  23. Hint: they already did.

  24. Didn’t they already poach Matias Duarte, who was the brains behind the UI/UX of webOS? I remember feeling odd about the move back then. Now it makes sense why he left.

  25. My issue with Webos never was the software.
    OS wise i always felt that Webos was MUCH
    better than Android.

    My issue with Palm/HP was the fact that the hardware was crap

    1. I liked WebOS before I liked Android. The reason I switched to being an Android fanboi? Because
      (1) it was open source
      (2) Google was partnering with every mobile network operator
      (3) Google was partnering with every OEM they could reach out to
      (4) Google was not having Apple’s draconian policies of (a) app approval, (b) app removal, (c) what apps, books, etc are “suitable” for me to read or consume
      (5) that Android could be developed on any platform Linux/Mac/Windows
      (6) Android could be developed without signing an NDA, without paying a fee, without anyone’s permission.

      In short, I recognized that Android, warts and all, would win. Android is pretty good, but not perfect.

      As a result of Google’s policy choices, Android phones are available on every network, from every OEM, in every size, shape color and style and price range that can be had.

  26. Maybe android needed some design help back before 2.1 but not now! Now the only problem are than damn manufacture skins! And that is not Androids fault! I don’t want android to look anything like webOS! WebOS is pretty… but quite frankly I don’t want a “pretty” phone…

  27. More engineers would be great if it could speed up the dev cycle.

    But honestly I just don’t see what Android is going to get from WebOS. I never really liked the look of it provided it was better than early Android releases. I don’t know how to put it in words but the style in WebOS is just overbearing to me. Its just too much in too many places. Android is just out of your way and the app devs make their apps what they are. I’m just not a fan of that big bubbly look. I hate the icon look in OS X for the same reason. It just makes it look like you’re using an OS for a kid.

    Feature wise I just didn’t see anything special in it either.

  28. HP lags in the WebOS / product execution – timing, marketing, product design/quality, and pricing. Let’s look at the auto industry, take Toyota for example, when it launched the Lexus luxury brand. The four keys success factors were executed well. Today, it’s with European brands. Next, Hyundai. If HP had delivered the WebOS on time, with above specs, competitive pricing, and enticing marketing; the outcome may be different. The WebOS platform has potential and still does…, it’s about innovation & $$$$$$.

  29. Yes, developers are developers and they can help intergrate other needs, ideas, and wants into Android. WebOS was great, but not what the market wanted. More talented developeelrs can’t hurt.

  30. Besides the poll is not asking if WebOS should be integrated into or as a part of Android. Some of you people can’t read or think for yourselves.

  31. I would say yes, but at the same time you are asking for trouble unless Google can buy the WebOS patents. This is because bringing in a design team that was working on WebOS will most likely produce results on Android that would look very similar to what WebOS was doing. In turn this would take HP and put it in a bind to sue Google for infringement of Patents that they own. The only way I would get more people would be to buy the Patents first then hire that team. $1.2 billion is chump change and the best HP can hope for is to break even.

  32. the multitasking ui is glorious but the lack of support and phones is bad. implement the right parts into android and it would be great

  33. ” This is not to say that Android’s current team isn’t getting the job done – they most certainly are.”

    I’ll say it then: Google doesn’t understand UI. They write great code, the UI sucks. Why does android STILL think 5551234,,,123 is a map coordinate? Why is three way calling so anoying to use on stock? The whole UI is boxy, easy to code in an afternoon, slap together that STILL isn’t hardware accelerated.

    If they don’t mooch webos devs, at least go buy out miui devs… cause all of that glorious code is still buried under visual crap

  34. People keep blaming the hardware for webOS’s failure but that was only part of the issue. The other bigger issue was the lack of API’s at release that allowed for some fundamental features like video/voice recording, 3d games and the host of apps that made use of those features. You can’t expect to compete with the big boys and come out of the gate lacking on both fronts (software and hardware). And to add insult to injury it took them way too long to respond to these weaknesses. I had a 1st gen Pre and when I first laid eyes on Android running on a phone (forgot which one)at a Sprint store I knew it was going to be a winner.

    If Android can take anything away from WebOS it would be the card system but that’s about it. It was a nice feature albeit very buggy when I used it, but nice.
    Other than that nothing else about WebOS was remotely game changing or a must-have.

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