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Top BlackBerry 10 designers and developers quit to form a new design company

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A reunion for The Astonishing Tribe

BlackBerry Z10 software (875px)
BlackBerry Z10 software (875px)

Some of the biggest names behind BlackBerry 10 have departed their ailing employer for the seemingly greener pastures of the startup world. Seven designers who were brought on by BlackBerry after it acquired their previous employer, The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), back in 2010, have left to form their own design group called Topp. TAT specialized in interface design, and its employees were initially responsible for polishing up BlackBerry's tablet-specific operating system. Since then, the TAT designers who left for Topp say that they became the "key players" in designing and developing BlackBerry 10.

TAT was responsible for some incredible concepts

TAT's founder also left BlackBerry last year, though he doesn't appear to be part of the new venture. But fans of UI design may still be excited to see any reunion of the group outside of BlackBerry: TAT worked on software design for the very first Android phone and generally produced a lot of wild concepts regarding 3D and touchscreen interfaces. Though the new company only consists of seven departures, Topp says that each of its employees was a "design and technology lead" at TAT — though it is worth noting that TAT had around 140 employees back in 2008, according to a Forbes report at the time.

For BlackBerry users, it's certainly bad news nonetheless. BlackBerry has been struggling to stay in the running in the modern smartphone race, and a hit to some of its top design talent will be one more bump in the road that it'll have to handle. It's not clear when each of the designers departed though, so the loss of personnel may be old news to BlackBerry. Even so, as the company works to bring its nearly one-year-old OS on par with more mature operating systems like iOS and Android, talented designers aren't a great thing to lose.