May 12 AT 11:43 AM Alberto Vildosola 42 Comments

Nexus 3 to be designed by Google? Danger co-founders join the company

What do Andy Rubin, Joe Britt, and Matt Hershenson have in common? They all used to work for Apple, they co-founded Danger, and now the three of them work at Google on the Android team.

The trio founded Danger back in 2000, the company that built the ground-breaking T-Mobile Sidekick or Danger Hiptop in 2002. A year later, Andy Rubin left Danger to found something called Android. The startup was later acquired by Google in 2005, and the rest is history. Joe Britt and Matt Hershenson however, stayed with Danger even after the company was acquired by Microsoft in 2008.

At Microsoft, the two of them worked on what would later be known as the Kin phone. Due to an internal clash with the Windows Phone team, the Kin was reduced to just a shadow of its original design. Unsurprisingly, the Kin was a complete failure. A few months after launch, Microsoft pulled the plug on the whole product. That same day, Joe Britt and Matt Hershenson left Microsoft to join their old friend at Google.

The two engineers join an ever-growing list of ex-Danger employees that now work on Android. As you might remember, Google hired Matias Duarte last year to work on Android’s user experience. Before working for Palm, he was the Director of Design at Danger. You can start to see a pattern forming here.

Interestingly, you can track some of Android’s characteristics all the way back to the original Sidekick. For example, the Sidekick featured the Back and Menu button similar to the ones we can see on Android today. Plus, have you seen the Sidekick’s keyboard? Doesn’t it look familiar? It should, ’cause it looks very much like the T-Mobile G1′s keyboard.

What will Joe and Matt be working on at Google? You already know if you watched the Google I/O Android keynote. They’re now part of the Android Hardware Engineering team. Matt is working on bringing more accessories to the Android platform. While Joe is working on the Android@Home initiative we caught a glimpse of at the keynote. Although they don’t plan to launch any Google-branded accessories in the near future, Joe did say that that’s something they want to do “in the long term.”

If you want to get an idea of how some of these Google-branded accessories might look like, I suggest you watch the part of the keynote where Joe demos their alien-looking Project Tungsten media hub.

With Google now entering the hardware business, the obvious question to ask is: Will the next Google Nexus phone be designed or built by Google? It’s very possible. At the very least, the device could be completely designed by the company but built by an OEM.

Will the fact that Google designs the Nexus 3 make it less or more attractive to you? Keep in mind that it’s possible that the Nexus 3 could feature Ice Cream Sandwich and a Tegra 3 CPU.

Via: Engadget

Alberto is a college student living somewhere between Miami, Sarasota and the World Wide Web. Although a former iPhone owner, Alberto is now a proud Android enthusiast. You can follow Alberto on Twitter and Google+ for his thoughts unworthy of an article.

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  • http://Website Wasim

    Anything by Google gets me excited! The Nexus 3 is gonna be sickkkkkkk!

  • http://Website nexus3

    Whoever makes or designs the Nexus 3 doesn’t matter, as long as it isn’t an LG!

    • http://Website Tito@1

      I think you mean Motorola.
      FYI, LG is a great contender (:
      Not only have they released high-end android as of late, but they came with quality.
      If there’s any two manufacturers that deserve Google/Android/Nexus credit, I’d probably say LG or Samsung [& I use to not like Samsung] .
      Then per say you can say, sure, Sony Ericsson.
      But Motorola? Their design is boring, and it’s about time someone overrated them [Thanks, Verizon].
      Android Innovation, FTW! (:

    • AME

      HTC or LG FTW

      The G1, G2, G2x, and N1 have all been stellar.

  • http://Website teleknEsis

    Sounds like they’re going back to what they did for the Nexus1 and that’s why I think it was such a great phone. If this is the case then I will DEFINITELY be on board for the next Nexus phone since I passed on the Nexus S due to the “S” (Samsung)

    • http://Website N2FBM

      You do know the Nexus One was manufactured by HTC?

  • http://Website Hans

    Personally,it doesn’t matter who builds the phone. As long as both the hardware and software work together as perfectly as possible, with the least amount of bugs as possible, I’m happy. Now, I just hope the next Nexus phone will actually come to all carriers rather than just one or two. I would love to have a pure Google phone with Ice Cream Sandwich, a quad-core processor, a mix between Super Amoled Plus and qHD, minimum 1gb ram, 8-10mp camera with Carl Zeiss lens, 1080p hd video recording. :) Dream phone.

    • http://Website Mark

      Dream on…..and as usual. No mention of what battery will power those power hungry features you seek. That’s what a lot of manufacturers are failing at these days.

    • http://Website Virtue

      Well the SAMOLED and qHD will probably not happen anytime soon. It took an extra three inches to keep the 800×480 resolution on the Super AMOLED+, just think of how large the size would be if they made it 960×540. It wouldn’t be a smart phone anymore, that thing would be a freaking tablet.

      • http://Website Lhooke


  • http://Website Schwin97

    If this is true, then the Nexus 3 will be the replacement to my Nexus One…

  • http://Website e

    bye bye apple ….lol in 3…2..1.. apple fan boy is going to reply BS

  • Terrormaster

    I think what ultimately matters is which carriers will get it. Verizon has snubbed every Nexus device to date. I won’t touch ATT with a 10′ pole, I don’t care WHAT device they get. TMobile gave me a hassle with my credit and didn’t want to subsidize anything to me. Besides they’ll probably get gobbled by ATT and I’ve already expressed how I feel about them. That leaves Sprint which I have no desire to be on. So once again I’ll just end up without a Nexus device.


    As an owner of a Nexus one and S, what do you think? I am absolutely drueling at the mouth at the potential beast that may be on the horizon !

  • http://Website Jeff

    Google essentially bought Danger for 0 billion dollars.

  • http://Website MitchRapp

    I think I need to change my underpants.

    Google designing their own phone? WHAT? Dear God this could be oh-so-epic.

    Unlocked bootloader to begin with… pre-rooted haha would be fun.

    But it must contain MINIMUM
    - Tegra 3
    - 1.5gb DDR3
    - 32gb internal
    - 8mpx dual flash /w 1080p HD 60fps recording + 2mpx front facing
    - 4.0 inch of whatever awesome screen technology shows up in 6 months :p
    - HDMI with wireless-HDMI capability and of course the usual WIFI/N, World phone, BT and NFC

    Best Part – solid build. Like the Moto XOOM.

  • acupuncture

    The danger co-founders joining Google is very interesting especially considering their new title. Maybe Google will start pushing out a wider variety of hardware instead of just one device every so often. Would love to see a tablet/netbook hybrid like the Asus transformer come directly from Google.

  • http://Website Adam

    Just goes to show how dumb Microsoft is by stifling the Danger team and then letting them walk away to join the Android team.

  • http://Website anthony

    Google doing it all would be great.I just hope they find a way to have better customer service. The main reason nexus s didn’t flourish was the ability to try phone out. The online sale idea deters a lot of people. The nexus s didn’t blow many away because it never really blew the nexus one away.

  • http://Website Miguel

    I don’t see how these two hirings increases the likelihood that Google will manufacturing their own hardware. Wasn’t the Sidekick hardware manufactured by Sharp? Danger didn’t even make their own hardware.

    Google doesn’t own any factories. So the company cannot build a phone on its own. No matter what, a manufacturer will have to build it, which is exactly what happened with the Nexus One (HTC) and the Nexus S (Samsung).

    The only change is that they could go to a lower-key manufacturer like Foxconn, which builds the iPhone for Apple, and have them build it. But I doubt it. Google seems to award the Nexus project to its partners as if it were a reward or trophy. It’s as much politics as it is technology related. I don’t see this changing.

    The title makes it seem as if a Nexus phone “designed” by Google is something new. But in fact it’s clear that Google had a major role in designing the Nexus One. And although the Nexus S is heavily Galaxy S-based, Google still incorporated unique design and tech into the phone.

    • http://Website Hans

      “Will the next Google Nexus phone be designed or built by Google? It’s very possible. At the very least, the device could be completely designed by the company but built by an OEM.”

  • FrightenedByPenguins

    Regardless of who actually builds the hardware, the Nexus 3 is probably going to be the phone I replace my Nexus One with.

  • http://Website DroidCLH

    If it doesn’t come to verizon than I really dont care

    • http://Website Greg

      Heh, sucks for you. Oh, but your network is so great, right?

  • Lane

    Google taking stronger role like they did on N1 = win.

    I think the nature of the Android experiment means they will never Foxconn the hardware, as mentioned above, but they wont repeat the NS either.

  • http://Website alex

    this is great news now if only Google bought tmo instead for $40 billion that would be great especially since the FCC will approve it since google is not a carrier, Nexus phones are great but i personally want a quad-core mytouch device :D

  • http://Website me

    The HipTop (Sidekick) really did start it all.

    Plenty of smartphone fanboys knock it, but the truth is, the Sidekick was the beginning of a whole new mindset. I proudly rocked one from the SK2 on..

    That being said, maybe these Danger guys will bring back the diamond-textured DPAD that made gaming so awesome on the SideKick 2009.

    This optical trackball/no trackball crap has got to go.. that Dpad at the top was the best thing about the Sidekick, and no one has really matched it, or the SK’s killer chicklet keyboard since.

  • http://Website SocalTeknique

    Hell yeah even though I love my Nexus S (rooted with NSCollab rom) I can’t wait to see what Google does with the Nexus 3!

  • http://Website scott norcross

    I kind of wanted to see a nexus phone from motorola, but anything from google will be great. Can’t wait!

    • http://Website Tommy

      That would be the Motorola Droid, they talked about how they worked closely with google for it.

  • Jeffroid



  • http://Website mkrmec

    Quad core Tegra 3 should be enough for SoC :D
    1 GB of RAM,
    16 GB / 32 GB storage
    some good display with high resolution, SAMOLED+ would still be enough (best display atm)

  • http://Website Andres

    Joe Britt has the worst helmet hair I’ve seen in a long time. During the Keynote I would have sworn he was wearing a wig. :)

  • Guy Bailey

    My T-Mob contract is up in March 2012, just in time to replace my N1 with the N3 I think…

  • http://Website tonmil

    Hi fidelity voice calls. PERIOD.

  • h0ruza

    The pattern won’t change and shouldn’t change. Android is the stock base for a manufacturers unique offerings so I have no doubt that there will be a Motorola, LG and a Sonyericsson Nexus phone at the very least.

    Thing is though there’s a lot of horse power getting thrown into these phones but to date the only phone that comes close to the dreaded iPhone 4 is the SGS2 which tells me the OS needs to bridge the gap not the hardware.

    Roll on a new UI from Ice Cream Sandwich or Jam Rolly Polly.

  • http://Website EJ

    I’ve had smartphones forever, I love my N1, it’s the best phone I’ve ever had, I hated the NS. They need to build a phone with the same footprint as N1 and Moto Atrix, these other 4.3″ screen phones are too big, get a tablet!

    *Add a notification light at least, go back to the trackball LED is even better.
    *Make it brick solid like the N1
    *2 mics for noise cancelling, the NS is terrible without this feature
    *Pure Google OS with unlocking bootloader
    *Gorilla Glass screen, NS was cheap plastic
    *HDMI out
    *Changeable battery with at least one hard work day of juice
    *Micro SD slot
    *It goes without saying that it should have leading edge processor with graphics acceleration and the best screen tech available

    Forget the marketing crap, people are smart enough these days to buy the best phone, JUST MAKE IT!

  • http://Website dark lord

    All I know is that this Nexus 3 better have a 2ghz dual core processor and at least 16gb of internal memory with a sd card slot, which the option of the phone being in Blk, Wht, or Silver. Hell put them Danger boyz to work, I wana see a Sidekick Nexus!!!

  • http://Website JohnEveryman

    Technically didn’t Google design the Nexus One and HTC simply manufactured it to their specifications? So them designing the Nexus 3 would just be par for the course right?

  • http://Website frongy

    This is awesome news. I really hope they get into the hardware game. I think Google should eventually do more than just the Nexus. What if all Android phones were made by Google in a year or two. I like some manufacturers, like HTC, but let them help build market alternatives like WP7. HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and many others only use Android because its free. The apps r already there. They dnt need to make their own OS now, which when u look at HTC and Sense, its very clear they’re trying to do. Imagine Google making 3 or 4 phones every year, at the same time. Their Nexus Line, The “G” series(Keyboard sliders such as the G1, G2) and maybe some larger media-centric 4.3 inchers. The same phones on all carriers, launching with the latest OS, and all getting timely updates. We can only dream, so I’ll be watching LG very closely, to see if they can continue to make phones as good as the G2X. If the next Nexus comes to Sprint with a tegra 3, 4.3 inch screen, 8 MP camera; then I will get it over the evolution 3D.

  • http://Website yoyoyo

    well it better not look crappy also if its slide i say it will suck ass

  • saint

    so, designed by Google and built by small OEM, Motorola Mobility?