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.