FORTUNE -- Matt Hershenson and Joe Britt, two legendary figures in mobile phone development, have suddenly resurfaced as part of the team building Android. Their hiring signals a big change at Google, showing that the company is getting just as serious about the hardware of phones — and this goes well beyond flip vs. candybar -- as it is the software.
Hershenson and Britt were part of the trio that founded Danger in 2000. The third partner: Android chief Andy Rubin. The three engineers launched pioneering consumer smartphones, like the once-ubiquitous-among-celebrities T-Mobile Sidekick in 2000.
Now they're back together again. Within the last 12 months, Britt and Hershenson quietly joined Google (GOOG) to run a new wing within Android called Android Hardware. They tell me they spend their days building things that will turn into reference designs for Android peripherals. Android Hardware is exploring everything from home automation to exercise gaming and robotics. While there are no immediate plans to build Google-branded Android hardware accessories, Britt indicated that he would love to see Google introduce some of its own Android peripherals in the long term. The folks in Cupertino (AAPL) have to be paying attention.
At Danger, the three were determined to change the mobile industry by putting a tiny computer in everyone's hands. They came up with the Hiptop, which was adopted by a renegade mobile carrier Voicestream shortly before that company was bought out by T-Mobile. The Hiptop was rebranded the Sidekick and went on to critical acclaim, at least in its niche of teens and celebrities who loved the ability to text message with a QWERTY keyboard, without having to carry around their father's BlackBerry. [For an interesting and thorough history of the early days of Danger told by Britt, Rubin and Hershenson, have a look at these videos from a 2004 Stanford talk.] More
The cell company is rebooting Sidekick phones on Google's Android OS, leaving Microsoft's $500 million purchase of Danger looking wasted.
If you needed more proof that Microsoft's $500 million acquisition of mobile software maker Danger was a flop, here it is: T-Mobile just announced that service to its once-popular Sidekick devices, powered by Danger, will be discontinued on May 31.
What does that mean? For Sidekick users, it means your text-centric smartphone MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Mar 1, 2011 11:07 AM ET
When building the revolutionary Danger Sidekick earlier this decade, current Android leader Andy Rubin relied on Matias Duarte. The duo are meeting up again in Mountain View.
Matias Duarte was Director of Design at Danger from 2000-2005 under then CEO Andy Rubin. His work there is described on his LinkedIn profile as:
As Director of Design, at Danger Matias is responsible for making all aspects of the user experience a coherent and appealing whole. MORESeth Weintraub - May 27, 2010 12:10 PM ET
[UPDATE: On Monday, Nov. 10, nearly a month later, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.2, an extensive update that fixed the guest-account bug and more than three dozen other Snow Leopard problems. For a full list, see here.]
Call it fallout from the Sidekick fiasco.
Having watched Microsoft (MSFT) go through a weekend from hell for wiping out the personal data of thousands of T-Mobile (DT) customers, Apple (AAPL) finally acknowledged a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 10, 2009 7:28 AM ET
By Scott Moritz
NEW YORK - A brief hands-on experience with the Google (GOOG) G1 phone gives the impression that after a slew of touchscreen duds from other telcos, Apple's (AAPL) iPhone finally has a worthy rival.
The highly-anticipated HTC phone for T-Mobile (DT) was unveiled in New York Tuesday, and kiosks with technical experts were set up so media people could run the first Android-powered phone through some tricks. T-Mobile will start MOREsmoritz - Sep 23, 2008 2:14 PM ET
By Michal Lev-Ram
Microsoft's Silicon Valley shopping spree continues with its purchase Monday of Danger, a Palo-Alto based company that makes the technology behind the youth-centric Sidekick phone, popularized by Paris Hilton and other celebrities.
Like its bid to buy Yahoo (YHOO) -- which turned down the tech giant's $44.6 billion buyout offer Monday -- acquiring Danger is yet another move to compete against Google (GOOG), which is making a big push MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Feb 11, 2008 2:58 PM ET
|Boost for trade as global deal struck|
|Five key numbers behind the jobs recovery|
|Someone bought a $100,000 Tesla with Bitcoins|
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Where should you put your money now?|