Watch Out, Samsung: Andy Rubin Hired The Hardware Guys Who Built The Sidekick

Joe Britt (right) with Anand Agarawala at Google I/O

[credit provider=”AP”]

Android chief Andy Rubin has quietly hired two former colleagues from Danger, the company that built the Sidekick, to run the Android Hardware team at Google.Fortune reports that Matt Hershenson and Joe Britt, who appeared on stage at yesterday’s Google I/O keynote, quietly joined the company in the last year after leaving Microsoft, which acquired Danger in 2008.

The team isn’t designing Android handsets — at least not yet. Instead, it’s working on creating peripherals that work with Android phones.

Google demonstrated some prototype devices at I/O, like an exercise bike.

Rubin left Danger in 2003 to form the company that would become Android, which Google bought in 2005.

Hershenson and Britt stuck with Danger even after Microsoft bought it, and worked on the team that eventually built the Kin phone. The original design for that phone called for a cutting-edge social media phone, but delays and internal competition with the Windows Phone team forced that team to cut Kin back to a bare-bones social phone without popular features like games or instant messaging.

It flopped, and Microsoft pulled the plug almost immediately. The pair quit Microsoft on the same day, and Hershenson drove straight to Google’s building 44 to see what his former Danger colleagues were up to.

Rubin practically guaranteed a new designed-by-Google Nexus phone this year, and a Nexus tablet is also a possibility. With these guys on board, Android resellers like Samsung and HTC might have reason to be a little nervous.