Palm, Inc. was on a hiring spree a few months ago, luring high-level employees away from other companies. One of these was Matias Duarte, who was responsible for the user interface on the Sidekick and Helio smartphones.
This company is in the process of re-ramping the Palm OS. It is creating a new Linux-based operating system that will be able to run applications written for the earlier versions of Palm OS, but with an improved user interface and underlying software.
Duarte was brought into this project in September of last year, and has the title "Senior Director, Human Interface and User Experience", which means he’s in charge of the parts of the new operating system — typically called Palm OS II or Nova — that users will see.
Both the Sidekick and the Helio UI have been lauded as being easy to use and consumer friendly, two things that Palm OS II will need if it’s going to be successful.
Revamping the Company and OS
Last year, the private equity firm Elevation Partners bought a significant stake of Palm, and Jon Rubinstein became the company’s chairman. Since then, Rubinstein has been working to turn Palm around, including hiring many new people and pushing out some of the old guard.
In addition to Duarte, Mike Bell was made Senior VP of Product Development early this year. Previously Bell had been in charge of CPU Software in Apple Macintosh Hardware Division.
Lynn Fox, who was formerly the Director of Mac PR, was also hired by Palm this spring.
In general, the company has been very quiet about hiring new employees. Only because Engadget was tipped off about Duarte did the news emerge, and Palm has confirmed the report.