Posts Tagged Matias

Android Central 114: Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Android 4.2

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Matias Duarte, Android’s Director of User Experience, answers important Nexus questions

Living in this day and age definitely has its perks. Whereas 10 years ago we’d never be able to interact with engineers and designers of the products we use, these days it’s relatively easy. Take Matias Duarte, for example. Android’s Director of User Experience took to Google+ to tackle fans’ burning questions regarding the newly announced Nexus products.

One question he addressed first was about the new system button placement on Android 4.2 tablets. If you’ve noticed, Google has thrown out the old system/notification bar of older tablets and instead have incorporated a Nexus 7-like experience. This was an obvious move to keep user experience consistent when switching amongst devices, which I happen to be a fan of. Part of brand loyalty is knowing exactly what to expect no matter which device you pick up. Bravo, Google.

Another issue he took on may be of interest to a lot of you. Why no SD card on Nexus devices? In Matias’ own words, he addresses that below:

Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it’s just confusing for users. If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt every time? What happens to the experience when you swap out the card? It’s just too complicated.

There you  have it. It’s all about streamlining the user experience and possibly making the Nexus brand more appealing to the casual crowd. Probably not the worst business decision.

source:  +Matias Duarte

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Google’s Matias Duarte explains lack of SD cards in Nexus devices

There’s certainly a lot of excitement surrounding Google‘s new line up of Nexus devices, and Android director of user services Matias Duarte has hopped on Google Plus to answer the questions Nexus fans undoubtedly have. Android users took him up on his offer to answer questions on these new Nexus devices, with hundreds posting comments to his Google Plus profile. At the time of this writing, Duarte has only gotten around to answering two questions, but the two answers he’s given are definitely worth noting.

Duarte explained Google’s motivation for switching up the status bar and system button with Android 4.2 devices, stating that Google wanted users to have a consistent Android experience across the majority of screens. Duarte says that Google’s utility research found that muscle memory is important, as users will expect the buttons to be in the same place regardless of the device’s orientation. With Android 4.2, Google has made it so the system bar will always keep those three buttons in the same place, though while this happens “dynamically for every screen size,” he does point out that these new system bar updates won’t apply to small handheld screens (read: phones). The reason for this is that having the status bar stretch across the screen horizontally while in landscape mode would leave too little vertical space.

He also explained why Google seems to shy away from including microSD slots on its Nexus devices, which has always been a major annoyance for consumers. According to Duarte, including microSD slots makes things “confusing for users.” He brought up a litany of questions that come along with using microSD cards on mobile devices – “If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt everytime?” – and concluded that they just make things too complicated. We’re not sure users would agree with that, but at least now we have Google’s reasoning for not including microSD slots on its devices.

In the time since posting those answers, Duarte’s Google Plus profile has received dozens more questions, but for now, it looks like he won’t be answering most of those. Still, at least he explained two pretty important things concerning Android 4.2 and Nexus devices. What do you think of his explanation for why Google leaves microSD slots out of the equation?

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Google’s Matias Duarte answers burning Nexus questions

Android CentralAndroid interface design guru and shirt connoisseur Matias Duarte has taken to Google+ to answer fans' questions about the upcoming Nexus devices and Android 4.2.

One of the first subjects tackled in the G+ post was the new system button placement on Android 4.2 tablets like the Nexus 10. The new Samsung Nexus tablet, unlike predecessors like the Motorola Xoom, ditches a split system bar and notification area, instead opting for a Nexus 7-like status bar up top. Duarte says this is about keeping the Android experience consistent and simple across multiple categories of device –

This new configuration is based on usability research we did on all of the different form factors and screen sizes that Android runs on. What mattered most of all was muscle memory – keeping the buttons where you expect them, no matter how you hold the device.

Duarte says that in Jelly Bean, the system buttons automatically gravitate towards the bottom of the device, unless doing so would reduce the available vertical space too much.

In addition, Duarte addressed the question of SD cards, which are absent from Google's Nexus devices –

Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it's just confusing for users. If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt everytime? What happens to the experience when you swap out the card? It’s just too complicated.

That's the user experience side of the argument, but if you want to get a bit more technical, you should check out Jerry Hildenbrand's take on why Google's Nexus devices lack removable storage.

More: Why Nexus devices have no SD card

Source: +Matias Duarte

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The Verge Goes Deep Inside Google HQ For A First Look At The Nexus 4, Nexus 10, And Android 4.2; Also, Matias Duarte With A Beard


If there’s one thing to say about The Verge, it’s that they’re already known for world-class reporting in the realm of all things tech. It’s clear that Google thinks so, too, as they gave Verge editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky a personal tour of the new Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Android 4.2. This is a first look at what to expect from the devices, some of the thought process behind the design of both the N4 and N10, as well as some not-yet-highlighted features of Android 4.2, like lockscreen widgets and the quick settings panel.

Oh, and Matias Duarte has a beard.

Done With This Post? You Might Also Like These:

The Verge Goes Deep Inside Google HQ For A First Look At The Nexus 4, Nexus 10, And Android 4.2; Also, Matias Duarte With A Beard was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Matias Duarte on Android’s UI: It’s Only About 33% Of Where I Want It To Be

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Google’s Matias Duarte is more than just a snappy dresser, he’s also Google’s Senior Director of Android User Experience. Today, the man responsible for taking Android’s design out of the stone-age and into the brave new world of Holo UI, was congratulated on the official Android Google+ page after being recognized as one of Fast Company’s “50 Designers Shaping the Future.”

While most Google+ users were quick to send Matias their praise and congratulatory messages for all his hard work (pre-ICS, Android wasn’t exactly known for its beauty), the thread quickly became overrun by users who jumped on the opportunity to point out Android’s current design flaws. It’s true. Android isn’t totally “there” yet — anyone who spends a lot of time in OS can tell you that. This general feeling was also echoed by Matias who responded to design criticisms saying:

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!

If you thought things were looking pretty polished already in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean despite uneven icons and general UI inconsistencies — there’s still a lot of work to be done but you can rest assured that Matias Duarte is on it.

[Google+ 1, Google+ 2 | Via BGR]

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Amidst recognition, Google’s Duarte thinks Android user experience still has long way to go

A couple years ago Google brought webOS designer Matias Duarte on board to direct the Android User Experience. Since then, he has been responsible for many of the design decisions found in the award-winning Android user interface. His hard work is again being recognized, this time by Fast Company who named him as one of the top fifty designers shaping the future.

Despite the accolades, Duarte indicates he is far from where he wants to be with Android. In comments on his Google+ page, he indicates that he is “only about a third of the way to where I want to be with regards to consistency, responsiveness, and polish.” This sentiment is consistent with remarks he made at Mobile World Congress this past February.

What would you like to see Duarte and his team take on while they work on the remaining two thirds?

source: Google+

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Duarte Thinks Android User Experience Has A Long Way To Go

Just a couple of years ago, Google hired webOS designer Matias Duarte  to help direct the Android User Experience, and so far, has been doing a great job. Since he was hired, Duarte has been responsible for many of the design decisions that went into creating the award-winning Android user interface experience. Duarte has really put some hard work and long hours into it, but his work has been recognized again, but this time by Fast Company, who name Duarte as one of the top fifty designers in shaping the future.

Despite all of the recognition, Duarte has indicated that he is far from where he wants to be with Android (which to me is quite surprising). With a few comments on his Google+ page, Duarte has indicated that he is really “only about a third of the way where I want to be with regards to consistency, responsiveness, and polish.” While this may be true, I think a lot of us Android are almost surprised at that statement, as the Android User Experience is already fantastic. How much better could it get? Of course, this statement also lines up and is consistent with statements he made at the Mobile World Congress in February earlier this year.

Do you think that Duarte has a long way to go with the Android User Experience, and what do you think the remaining two thirds of the Android User Experience are going to look like in the future?

Let us know in the comments below!

source: talk android

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

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 improvements 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

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Blackberry to Pair Up With Android to Rebound in the Smartphone Arena

We talked yesterday about how Ubuntu and Google could possibly pair up and in turn bridge the smartphone/PC gap. Well, guess what kids? Surprise! Surprise! It’s Ubuntu RIM talking about pairing up with Google’s Android in order to revive its tarnished image and get the company back on track. As of now, things do not seem pretty for the Canadian multinational giant as it is bounded with huge fiscal losses and already whacking the whip over more than 5,000 employees.

Reportedly, Google’s Matias Duarte confirmed that Google would love to team up with Blackberry for an Android based QWERTY phone. Even Microsoft’s CEO, Mr Steve Balmer has shown keen interest in pairing up with RIM, possibly to tug in Windows OS into QWERTY smart-phones.

So, RIM has both the doors open.

Well, so why not Apple then? Well, as per our reliable sources, Blackberry is less frustrated with Android/Microsoft than it is with Apple. Their rivalry is intense and they both cannot ever sail on the same boat.

Canonically, Google and Apple have locked horns ever since the smartphone innovation has triggered. We are witnessing a poultry rivalry perhaps, each outdoing other with a better dairy product or a-sweeter-fruit. Much of the progress so far has been only on Touchscreen devices. The evergreen stereotyped hardware based keyboard phones have been void of much attention and innovation. Though there are a couple of Motorola devices (maybe one Samsung device) which embeds a physical keyboard and runs an Android OS, those phones are nothing when compared to the elite range of smartphones by Samsung or HTC.

In an interview with ABC news, Duarte revealed how much he loved hardware based keyboards and how he would love to see Android-based QWERTY phones. He talked about how much he adored RIM as a company, how big fan he was of Blackberry’s physical keyboards and how happy he would be to see Blackberry devices on board with Android.

Would you love Android based Blackberry phones? Do you think this tie-up can make Android unassailable? Would this move actually help Blackberry, regain its tarnished image?

Would this be the revenge of the fallen?

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Google wins the Gold Prize for best platform experience with ICS

Last night, the Parson’s School of Design hosted its annual user experience awards. Guess who won for best platform experience? Ice Cream Sandwich! That’s right, the platform we all love and has proven that Android is a mature and beautiful OS for mobiles has taken the Gold Prize. Matias Duarte is the man behind the whole UX and UI and this is just a demonstration of what he is capable of doing being this is first complete work at Google (Honeycomb was never complete) and I can hardly wait to see what he will come up with for Jelly Bean, hopefully it won’t be long and we’ll get to see something at Google I/O.

From his Google+ post:

Ice Cream Sandwich won the Gold Prize for best platform experience at Parsons’ 2012 User Experience Awards! Way to go team!

Thanks to Parsons for hosting a great event and thanks to IXDA, NYC UPA, and NYC CHI. We need more celebrations of UX like this!

Bellow there’s the video that Google uses to show what ICS is all about and a few images from ICS



source: Matias Duarte on Google+

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Ice Cream Sandwich wins Gold Prize for best platform experience at Parsons’ 2012 UX Awards

Matias Duarte and team have reason to be proud this evening, as Ice Cream Sandwich has won the Gold Prize for best platform experience at Parson's School of Design's annual user experience awards show. We all demand a beautiful and functional interface on our smartphones, and Android really stepped up with Ice Cream Sandwich. As Durate's first real work with Google, it implements all the good from previous versions along with good looks and effects that make it stand out. 

The video you see above was the clip reel shown to the audience, which really does embody the eye for design and simplicity that went into Ice Cream Sandwich. Congrats, Matias and team on an award well deserved!

Source: +Matias Duarte. More: Android developers on Youtube

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Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich UX Wins Gold Prize For User Experience Award – Early Holo UI Shown In Video [Update]

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There’s no denying that in terms of overall looks, Google hit one out of the park when they introduced a complete UI overhaul that was Ice Cream Sandwich. After countless years (it was only about 3) design was finally a focus and thanks to Matias Duarte ‘n friends, Android 4.0 not only brought a UI worth bragging about — but one that no longer necessitated the need for 3rd party skins to make Android beautiful. The term Google likes to use for this all new UX (user experience) is “Holo,” and apparently it’s up for a 2012 User Experience award tonight, at the Parsons School of Design.

To help celebrate, Google has thrown together a reel of their most famous commercials and somewhere around the 2:00 mark, you can see the initial inspiration for Holo, and where it eventually ended up — on our glorious Galaxy Nexus’s. Of course, we think the Android User Experience Design team should win first place, and we’ll keep you posted with the results. Check out Google’s video below.

Anyone else get tinglies when they saw the animations for the concept Ice Cream Sandwich launcher? Eeeeee… It’s a shame more developers haven’t taken Google’s advice when designing their apps for Android, but keep in mind this isn’t Microsoft (they impose strict Metro UI guidelines for devs when creating apps for their market place). Seeing how there are so few apps designed to Holo standards, a new site has been created to showcase them called Feel free to have a look see.

Update: It looks like they won Gold Prize for best platform experience. Way to go, guys! [Google+: Matias Duarte]


Via Droid-Life | AndroidCommunity

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Core WebOS developers defect to Google

It’s not a popular fact among the Android faithful, but Ice Cream Sandwich has a lot of the same design DNA as HP’s (and formerly Palm’s) WebOS, thanks to designer Matias Duarte. Now Google is getting a fresh batch of concerts from the WebOS team. The Enyo developer team helped create the HTML5 framework for the HP TouchPad, and The Verge has announced that they’re making their way to Google soon.

The entire team won’t be switching, but an anonymous source says that lead designer Matt McNulty and those responsible for “99% of the code” will be jumping ship. And why not – it isn’t like HP is doing much with WebOS at the moment, after halting all hardware production last year and committing the project to the world of open source. You’ll find plenty of WebOS fans still out there (your truly among them) but there’s just not a lot of interest in its continued development.

What will Google do with Enyo? The obvious answer would be set them to work on improving Android, but there are plenty of other places that their particular skill set could be applied. They could be used for Chrome, in its desktop, mobile or separate OS incarnations, or any one of a hundred Google projects that uses HTML5 on the web or on mobile. In any case, it’ll probably be months at the very least before we start seeing the effects of their work, whatever it turns out to be.

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Carbon Twitter Client For Android (Of WebOS Fame) Gets Previewed On Video, Alpha Coming Soon


In the increasingly crowded market for Twitter clients on Android, another big player is about to jump into the fray – Carbon. You may know Carbon from its days on WebOS, but now that HP’s mobile operating system is little more than an open source zombie, Carbon’s developers are looking for a new (and more profitable) home.

While the app is already available on Windows Phone 7, that version is styled quite differently from the upcoming Android version, shown in the video below.

As you can see, Carbon is an app with a rich (and unique) user interface, …

Official Android Police t-shirts are now on sale, with over 25 designs to call yours.

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Carbon Twitter Client For Android (Of WebOS Fame) Gets Previewed On Video, Alpha Coming Soon was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google Airs Day 3 Recap Video from MWC’s Android Booth

Yesterday we showed you a couple of Google’s MWC recap videos that highlighted on just a few of the awesome things happening in the Android booth at this years Mobile World Congress. Just a couple hours ago, Google released day three’s recap video and it focuses on some of the more important aspects of Android and its path that is ultimately paving the way for our beloved operating system. Matias Duarte touches a bit on Android design and the cool looking UI wall they designed to give developers inspiration on the touch and visual experience for future ICS applications. You will also see developers discuss Android Beam, the benefits it already has and the endless possibilities for future development. Check it out. Pretty cool stuff.

Click here to view the embedded video.

source: Google+

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Matias One: hammer out an iPhone masterpiece on the best keyboard of the ’90s

Between touch-screens and rubber-backed keyboards, we’re getting further away from the tactile, mechanical keyboards we grew up with — except for gamers, who have embraced mechanical keyboards for the improved response times and, of course, the great noise they make. Canadian peripherals maker Matias is adding to its line of Apple Extended Keyboard-inspired typing-decks with the Tactile One: with Bluetooth iPhone control. Imagine how fast (and how noisily) you’d be able to hammer out a text message on one of these things, because it’s all we can do right now. A Mac / PC edition will be available in April for $200 and you can pre-order it from the store right now. There’s PR after the break, if you really need some clicky-clacky convincing.

Continue reading Matias One: hammer out an iPhone masterpiece on the best keyboard of the ’90s

Matias One: hammer out an iPhone masterpiece on the best keyboard of the ’90s originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 13 Jan 2012 15:34:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Introducing the Official Android Design Principles Website

Matias Duarte is on a mission to make Android beautiful, and with the launch of Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, he’s off to a good start. Now the goal is to get app developers in on the makeover process. Today the Android team launched “Android Design” to help developers adapt to the look and feel of 4.0 and Google’s own suite of apps. The site is full of tips and tricks for making your apps look like native elements of Ice Cream Sandwich.  Here’s what Mr. Duarte had to say.

This is the second part of our Ice Cream Sandwich launch. As this site goes up, I can feel like it’s finished. Like ICS is truly complete.

Check out Android Design

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Google’s Matias Duarte reveals design standards for Android 4.0 at CES 2012

Looking for a little more consistent UI experience with your Android devices? Google is looking to make that happen as the folks in Mountain View has revealed that the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich OS will be the first Android software to institute design standards for developers. Android Design is a online repository for the UI guidelines and blueprints for version 4.0, which we learned would unify smartphones and tablets back at Google I/O. This set of information should make things all neat and tidy for ICS devices, keeping user interface characteristics a bit more cohesive from app to app. Here, devs will find all the basic info and elements that are native to platform in order to make the best applications possible for the OS. Mr. Duarte warns that if you choose to not follow the style guide, your software will stand out — and not in a good way. He also quipped that these are indeed guidelines, not mandates. And that they will gain value as more folks adopt them. Yeah, we know… the competition from Cupertino has been doing this for a while now, but a bit more structure in the Android universe certainly won’t draw any complaints from us.

Continue reading Google’s Matias Duarte reveals design standards for Android 4.0 at CES 2012

Google’s Matias Duarte reveals design standards for Android 4.0 at CES 2012 originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 12 Jan 2012 16:20:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Matias Duarte ok with OEMs adding custom Skins to Android 4.0


As many of you, I have been mostly impatient when it comes to getting Ice Cream Sandwich on my phone. I own a Samsung Galaxy S II so you can imagine my stunned reaction when we learned that Sammy has been hard at work skinning Android 4.0 with Touch Wiz. Android 4.0 is a thing of beauty and I cannot understand why any manufacturer would mess with it but then again we should come to expect this if we are not owners of a Nexus device.

Two months ago when Ice Cream Sandwich was showcased for us all, Matias Duarte was giddy as a kid in a candy store and I mean who can blame him? ICS is a masterpiece so he should be proud of it. What has surprised me is his overall acceptance of manufacturers in my opinion destroying ICS by overlaying Touch Wiz, moto Blur etc.

During a Google plus hangout, Mr Duarte basically made it known he is for the most part ok with what Samsung is doing because of the Nexus program and the fact that people who want the pure Android experience can go with a Nexus Device. Well guess what? I want the pure Android experience Mr Duarte, but unfortunately when I was shopping for a new phone the Galaxy S II was the best device on the market at the time; and I am not knocking the SGS2 I actually love my phone. I do however want pure Android 4.0 on it as well and I think we should have that option.

Mr Duarte mentioned during that hangout that Asus’s custom skin they’ve added on top of Android 3.0 on the Transformer Prime is much less than has been added in the past. He went on to mention that ASUS even added an option to disable all manufactures customizations, which will give the user the option of that pure Android experience.

I am somewhat disappointed that Matias is not more upset about this whole situation. I also wish I could have been in this hangout as it would have been an interesting one for sure.

Now  for your reading pleasure, here is the transcript of Matias Duarte’s response to this question from the hangout: “So much work goes into producing the UI and the changes that you make, and then typically what happens is that the OEM’s put their skins on it and put their own touch. Does it bother you that so much work goes into it and in the end, a lot of consumers don’t interact with the UI as you intended it?”


Well, it would bother me more if we didn’t have programs like the Nexus program. The idea behind the Nexus device is to do exactly that – to give consumers an option to use the baseline work that we do if they choose…the philosophy of Android, the idea that partners can customize Android if they want to, is really important to making Android successful.

I think as we see more and more of the basic UI, the basic operating system – the home screen, the notifications system – kind of meet all of the needs that the customers want, you’ll see that OEM’s invest less time trying to fill in the features maybe that were missing there and more time adding completely new features to differentiate each other. Or taking the baseline Android experience and trying to transform it to create something completely different that is more of a niche product like the Kindle Fire.

And I think that’s good; I’m excited for that future. i hope that with Ice Cream Sandwich, we’ve done a lot to deliver that baseline so that OEM’s are going to feel less like they need to fill in the holes that Android left behind and actually focus on adding value…I think with the new Asus Transformer [Prime], you’ll see that the level of customization they’ve provided on top of the base Android is much less than has been provided in the past. In fact, they even allow you to turn off all of their customizations and revert to the stock Honeycomb UI, which I think is a really cool development, too.

We always look at whatever [manufacturers] launch but we have to kind of keep ourselves very firewalled. We don’t want to show them what we’re doing before it’s ready and they don’t want to show us what they’re working on before it’s ready. It’s really important for the community to kind of have an even playing field. [Ed. note - that will become critical if the Motorola acquisition is approved]

Individual designers, product managers, and engineers maybe follow one particular mod or OEM more than others, so that becomes part of the gestalt of different ideas that are out there.

It’s always exciting to see when somebody does something really cool, really interesting, and really different. One of the designs practices that we have is that when you start a new design problem, stop and think, “Ok what’s the obvious way to do this?” And then just challenge designers and engineers to say, “Ok, technology aside – assuming that there’s no limit – what would be the coolest way to do this? What would the most compelling, fastest way to do this?” And let’s see what that would look like the way that nobody else has done this before and then let’s see how close we can get to that.

Matias Duarte

Did you hear that Samsung? how about an option to disable Touch wiz! what a genius idea, Give the user the choice. But we all know all to well that most manufacturers believe their customization of Android OS is a good thing and offers a better user experience. Well just maybe for a new Android user who doesn’t know any better that is fine. The rest of us however are not fine, Give us our 100% pure Android and give it up now!

Source: Androinica

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Watch Matias Duarte On Google+ Today at 4:30 PM EST

Been waiting for someone to pick the brain of the popular Googler, Matias Duarte?  Today at 4:30 PM EST (1:30 PM PST), on The Daily Beast’s Google+ page, you can watch a live hang out where they will be going back and forth with the man behind many of the Ice Cream Sandwich looks we [...]

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Matias Duarte Going Live With Newsweek and Daily Beast on Google+ Later Today

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If you ever longed for the chance to video chat with one of the Googlers responsible for what we know as Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, today is your lucky day. Newsweek and The Daily Beast will be hosting a Q&A on Google+ using hangouts with none other than ex-Palm UX designer Matias Duarte.

We’re not sure what exactly will be discussed in this one but that gives you all the more incentive to try and get in. I say try because Google+ limitations only allow them to take 9 watchers at a time.

They say keep an eye out throughout the conversation, however, as spots are expected to open up periodically. Things will start around 4:30pm Eastern. Keep your eye on their Google+ page around that time to be notified that they’ve gone into a Hangout. [Newsweek and the Daily Beast]

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Video: Matias Duarte Stops by ‘On the Verge’ to Talk Ice Cream Sandwich, Mentions Galaxy Nexus Release

Matias Duarte, who is the visual and design expert behind Android 4.0, stopped by the set of the Verge’s new show called On the Verge to talk a whole bunch of stuff that may interest you. Some of his Palm WebOS days were brought up, along with the fact that he worked at Helio. But [...]

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Matias Duarte Shows Off Android 4.0′s Live Video Effects For The Crowd [Video]

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Watching the Samsung/Google launch event of the Galaxy Nexus I got the feeling there were many features of the Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich that didn’t make it into their (what I felt was) brief announcement. Turns out I was right.

Take the real-time, live video effects feature of the Android 4.0/Galaxy Nexus shown off by Matias Duarte as he visited the “On The Verge” Monday night video podcast. The video effects were shown off briefly to an amused studio audience as the face of Mr. Topolski was altered in real time using the Galaxy Nexus camera.

Before they signed off, Mr. Duarte said something I felt rang true when dealing with smartphone cameras. According to Matias, smartphones shouldn’t be chasing after the super advanced features of the point-and-shoot and DSLR. Instead, a smartphone camera serves another purpose entirely and that’s to “make memories [and] share moments with people.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Perhaps that’s why the Google/Samsung team didn’t feel the need to include an 8MP camera in this iteration of the Nexus? Check out the video below to see the Android 4.0 video effects for yourself.

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Google talks Roboto design decisions for ICS

Along with the talks of the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS came chats about the devices that would get the update, such as the Galaxy Nexus, and chats about a new typeface of all things. Google opted for a new typeface with ICS that is dubbed Roboto. The name left geeks everywhere with Styx running through their heads, but Google had a reason for the new typeface. Google’s Matias Duarte talked a bit about the Roboto typeface recently.

Duarte says that the Droid font face that Android has traditionally used was designed for screens with a lower pixel density than the HD screens that are common in devices today. He says that the Droid typeface struggled to give the openness and information density needed in ICS. The Google typeface gang set out to create a new typeface that would be visually appealing and take advantage of high-density screens like the Galaxy Nexus offers, and then still be legible on lower density screens like the Galaxy S.

Roboto sprang from the straight-sided grotesk fonts, though circular fonts like future were considered. The lower case letters were softened up to make them easier to read with the “e” and “g” opened up and the “a”, “c”, and “s” characters remaining closed. It’s a bit surprising to me how much effort was put into the typeface alone. The team working on the typeface is still at work extending the font to work on computers. I hope the OS is as polished as the typeface.


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Matias Duarte On Roboto Font for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

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Matias Duarte took to his Google+ page today to give everyone a behind-the-scenes look at the developmental process behind one of Ice Cream Sandwich’s tiniest updates: the font. Those boys over at Google are calling it Roboto (don’t you dare call it san-serif Helvetica) and if you thought there couldn’t possibly been much thought behind the new typeface you were wrong. Soooo very wrong.

According to Mr. Duarte, the reason for the new change is simple — the old Droid font was made for lower res devices and wasn’t displaying correctly on the now offical 1280×800 screen resolution. They were looking for something new, modern and that would fit the new “magazine” style UI of Android 4.0. Apparently, the Roboto font isn’t just optimized for high definition screens but it also plays well with older Android devices sporting lower res screens, making it a perfect fit moving forward. In short, every part of the Robot typeface was planned in painstaking detail. And I haven’t even gotten into how they came up with it. If you’re interested in hearing more on Roboto (lots more), hit up Matias Duarte’s Google+ post. While I found it interesting, I’m sure even the most dedicated Android faithful may find it a snoozer.

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Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Q and A session from Hong Kong

I’m sure many of you readers were following along during the live broadcast of the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich just as we were, but most likely you all had a few additional questions and concerns. While we weren’t able to ask them all, or everything we wanted, our own Vincent Nguyen was live in Hong Kong to ask as many questions as possible along with a few others. Below are a few quotes from the Q and A session from some of the main Android authorities that were standing by during the Samsung Galaxy Nexus unveiling.

While a sit down with Andy Rubin wasn’t quite possible, we were able to hear from Gabe Cohen, Product manager for Android’s Gmail, Hugo Barra Managing Director for Android, and Matias Duarte, Head director of the Android user experience. Below are a few cut outs from the SlashGear Q and A that we found interesting but you’ll want to hit that source link up for the full session.

Vincent Nguyen: I was wondering, when you did the face recognition – is there an alternate means to get into the device incase it doesn’t work?

Matias Duarte: Yes of course, you can either use a pin (code) or a pattern (much like previous versions of Android). And sometimes if the lighting is too strong, there’s backlighting, or you’re too dark, of course the camera can’t pick up a good enough image – so sometimes have to use that backup.

Vincent Nguyen: Will that be extended to just unlocking, or can you unlock let’s say Dropbox or other apps where it does require a pin or –

Matias Duarte: The feature right now is just for unlocking the phone.

Vincent Nguyen: For the instant voice input [real-time speech], is that still dependent on the carrier quality? Or is there a local file-save so that it starts to learn your usage?

Hugo Barra: Real-time speech is over a data-link so you certainly get better latency over a better data connection, but that’s the only impact I can think of that’s related to the carrier.

Vincent Nguyen: But is there anything saved locally, or is everything – is there a profile of how you use it?

Hugo Barra: No.

Vincent Nguyen: So there’s no customization at all to the voice input?

Hugo Barra: We’ve launched a Beta feature called Personalized Voice Recognition in the U.S. for U.S. usage only sometime in the last year – if you are a user in the U.S. and you’ve opted in to Personalized Voice Recognition then you will get the benefits of that technology, but so far it’s only launched in the United States.

– The many other 3rd party publishers also asking questions will be marked by a “Q” except for those by Vincent.

Q: How many languages do you support for voice recognition?

Hugo Barra: Oh man, I don’t have the exact number for the large number but it’s already over 20 languages.

Q: Does that include Chinese?

Hugo Barra: Yes, of course!

This next set of questions should answer many readers concerns regarding Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich updates and if they’ll see updates for their device. Sadly this is largely up to carriers and manufacturers, but according to Google any phone running 2.3 Gingerbread should be capable, and therefor deserves to be updated.

Q: I wonder if Android 4.0 will have a minimum hardware requirement – like Android 3.0 does?

Hugo Barra: No specific ones come to mind.

Q: To your estimation, how many Android 2.3 handsets can be upgraded to Android 4.0?

Gabe Cohen: We’re currently in the process of releasing Ice Cream Sandwich for Nexus S as well it should work for any 2.3 device.

Hugo Barra: When we design new versions of the Android operating system we optimize them for the new generation of devices. So we expect that everything will work back to certainly MOST Gingerbread devices, but we certainly designed with future devices in mind first and foremost.

Gabe Cohen: And some of the features you saw are specific to the Galaxy Nexus like the camera.

Hugo Barra: We’re pretty confident that 2.3 devices will work just fine with the program.

Vincent Nguyen: There was a lot of focus – not a lot of focus, but the keyboard was redesigned in a way -

Matias Duarte: Yeah we think this is the best Android keyboard ever, and we think its as good as any other software keyboard out there.

Vincent Nguyen: SWYPE is becoming – the technology of “swiping” has been becoming popular and other companies are getting sold for a whole bunch of money; was it a conscious decision for Google just to leave that feature out?

Hugo Barra: Swiping?

Vincent Nguyen: Yeah the ability to just swipe on your keyboard.

Hugo Barra: There are, Idunno, probably about a dozen gesture keyboard available on the Android Market…

Vincent Nguyen: Yeah there are but then I won’t get this whole new keyboard that Google just put out – I’d like to have the best of both worlds.

Matias Duarte: One of the features we actually rolled out in Honeycomb and now with the integration in Ice Cream Sandwich is bringing dynamic keyboard switching in the OS so you can actually install both and have both at the same time.

Vincent Nguyen: I’ve done that and it’s terrible. I just want one keyboard and be happy with it.

Hugo Barra: It’s gonna feel a lot better to switch in Ice Cream Sandwich.

Matias Duarte: Yeah, we’ve changed the way that you switch, so you should try it, hopefully it’s not as terrible.

Vincent Nguyen: You didn’t demonstrate it on-stage so could you elaborate how you would switch?

Matias Duarte: It’s always available, on tablets we have the switch controller right there so you just tap to switch between them – on phones you just pull down that notification shade, again, and you can use that to switch between keyboards.

Now I don’t want to spoil all the fun that Vincent and others had here, but we have tons more questions recorded and you can read plenty more where this came from at With details and responses from Android being open source, custom UI’s like HTC Sense on Honeycomb or ICS, Android Beam security and more. I’m sure you’ve all seen plenty of this amazing new phone but just in case we have a few videos below for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to hit either of our news portal links below revealing everything about this next flagship device, then enjoy those videos and your Halloween weekend.
[Galaxy Nexus] & [4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich]

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich hands-on

Samsung Galaxy Nexus hands-on

Samsung Galaxy Note vs Galaxy Nexus hands-on

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info

    Device Name : GALAXY Nexus
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : October 18, 2011
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As : Nexus Prime


  • Screen Size : 4.65 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280×720
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight

  • Height : 5.33 Inch
  • Width : 2.67 Inch
  • Depth : 0.35 Inch
  • Weight : 135 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1750 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • SMS
  • MMS


    CPU : OMAP 4460
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 32 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
  • CDMA
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
    CDMA Band:
  • 900
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :


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Google executive: Siri is Star Wars, Android Voice Actions is Star Trek

Sometimes it’s nice to know that the executives at Google are just as nerdy as we are. At the Hong Kong event where Google and Samsung introduced the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Matias Duarte, product management director for Android, answered some direct questions from the crowd. When asked to compare Siri with Android’s built-in Voice Control features, he responded with an analogy that any self-respecting geek can identify with. Duarte compared Siri with the bumbling protocol droids like C3PO from Star Wars, while Voice Actions are more like the U.S.S. Enterprise’s computer, where voice controls every function.

Here’s Duarte’s complete quote:

Well, we don’t like to set ourselves in a head-to-head kind of way, you know, Apple makes terrific products, I think Siri is great; I think it’s really hard in the long run to follow strategy of making kind of an artificial personality. You know, it can be really funny at first, but that uncanny value of just, uh, having a personality that you start to interact with, um, as you would a person, with all the contextual ambiguity you would with a real person – that’s a really challenging approach, and they’re going for it, that’s great. Our approach is different. The metaphor I like to take is – if it’s Star Wars, you have these robot personalities like C-3PO who runs around and he tries to do stuff for you, messes up and makes jokes, he’s kind of a comic relief guy. Our approach is more like Star Trek, right, starship Enterprise; every piece of computing surface, everything is voice-aware. It’s not that there’s a personality, it doesn’t have a name, it’s just “Computer.”

I’ve often thought that Apple’s insistence on calling Siri “her” made it out to be more than it is, a series of keywords hooked into various web and app actions. Android’s Voice Actions is actually pretty similar, even if it’s designed to act like a command rather than a conversation – when activating the Navigation app, I’ve often felt the urge to say, “Computer, navigate to movie theater.” The idea of Siri as everyone’s least-favorite golden robot, the essence of form over function (not to mention self-important obsolescence) doesn’t hurt either.

Make no mistake, Siri is impressive, it’s just not the revolution that Apple wants you to think it is – Android has been doing the same thing and more for years, if admittedly in a less intuitive way. Whether you prefer saying “Siri, wake me up at five” or “Set alarm for five AM” is really a personal preference… perhaps at least as personal as your answer to Luke versus Kirk. We’ll have a full transcript of Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich Q&A available in the next few days, so keep an eye our for more highly relevant metaphors.

Check out our hands-on looks at the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich below:

Galaxy Nexus Hands-on

Ice Cream Sandwich Hands-on


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Andy Rubin: Ice Cream Sandwich’s Face Unlock is developed by PittPatt

Liking that Face Unlock on Ice Cream Sandwich we saw this morning? You can thank PittPatt for that. Here at AsiaD’s opening session, Android head honcho Andy Rubin just confirmed that said Pittsburgh-based company — acquired by Google earlier this year — was responsible for this nifty security feature. While the demo didn’t go as planned for Matias Duarte at the launch event, Andy was able to show us how Face Unlock’s meant to work on the stage just now. In fact, Andy said his team even had to “slow down the process” as PittPatt’s software was too fast to make folks believe that any security at all was involved — for what it’s worth, Walt Mossberg’s beard couldn’t get past the unlock screen on Andy’s Galaxy Nexus. Head on over to our hands-on video to see us getting up close and personal with Face Unlock.

Andy Rubin: Ice Cream Sandwich’s Face Unlock is developed by PittPatt originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 19 Oct 2011 06:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ice Cream Sandwich face unlock demo (video)

When Matias Duarte tried to unlock his Nexus Galaxy on-stage at today’s Samsung event things didn’t go so well. Some combination of his makeup and the lighting conspired to keep him from getting into his device, but after spending a little time with one ourselves we can confirm that it does indeed work — and quickly. To program the feature, go into the settings and it’ll train itself to recognize your mug. As it locks in a ring of circles frames your face and, hey presto, it’s ready. After that you set up a backup form of identification and you’re good to go.

Once it’s ready we found it takes only a second or two to recognize and unlock the phone, meaning this should be even faster than swiping or punching in an unlock code. But, you still will need to do that from time to time, either when the lighting conditions are less than optimal or, apparently, when you weren’t born with it and were relying a little too much on the Maybelline.

Continue reading Ice Cream Sandwich face unlock demo (video)

Ice Cream Sandwich face unlock demo (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 19 Oct 2011 02:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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