LAS VEGAS—Matias Duarte is a man who loves a challenge.
It’s part of why he took his current job at Google, leading the Android operating system team as head of user experience. In a nutshell, he is the man tasked with making sure Android looks, feels, and performs as smoothly as possible. And it is not an easy job.
"Designing an open mobile operating system—and doing it really well—that’s never happened before in human history," Duarte tells me, leaning forward in his chair and sipping from a cup of tea as we spoke in the garish hallway of a hotel on the Vegas strip earlier this week. He is visibly excited, seemingly up to the task when I note how big the challenge is. "I’ve done the closed thing before," he says, referring to his days at Palm working on the webOS operating system. "And I’d like to think I did it well."