Apparently a lot of that TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) talent left BlackBerry Sweden to start a new company called TOPP...

TOPP
By Kevin Michaluk on 9 Oct 2013 01:40 pm
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When companies acquire other companies, it's usually for one or more of a few reasons, including: to grow market share (and take out a competitor a long the way), to acquire technology and/or to acquire talent.

Nearly three years ago, BlackBerry (RIM at the time) acquired a company out of Sweden that the tech world knew as The Astonishing Tribe, or TAT. Now known within BlackBerry as "BlackBerry Sweden," TAT was all about innovative design in UI and UX. In this case, BlackBerry acquired both technology and talent in TAT. On the tech side of things, TAT's Cascades framework and tools were integrated into BlackBerry's SDK to help developers build apps.

On the talent front, the TAT team showed off some awesome concepts over the last few years that quickly turned CrackBerry Nation into big fans of the TAT team, even if many of those creative concepts never did make it into our hands (at least yet). This team also played a huge roll in the design of BlackBerry 10

TAT founder Hampus Jakobsson left last August to "pursue other projects" and we've now learned that seven of TAT's design leads left BlackBerry Sweden as well and formed TOPP - a studio where they "craft new products and breathe life into innovative ideas through design, prototyping, and technology."

We're not sure just how many team members maxed out TAT in total and how many have left since the BlackBerry acquisition, but it sure seems like TOPP is trying to rebuild that early TAT magic, with many of the same people. You can catch the TOPP highlight reel below (which includes BlackBerry 10 in their portfolio), and visit toppstudio.com for more info. 

Topics: News & Rumors

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3922 (articles) 3285 (forum posts)
153 comments

Dave79

How Astonishing and really come as a surprise that any people with a bit of talent that works for BlackBerry is jumping the sinking ship...not!

Not to mention that probably only 0.5% of the talent of TAT ended up in actual Blackberry products.

RP Singh

Haters gonna hate.

Sent from my iPuh-lease-as-IF

darkehawke

Blind people will make stupid comments

Posted via CB10

BerryWizard

Hell yeah !

Posted via CB10

Chris Hooter

and potato's gonna potate

br14

"How Astonishing and really come as a surprise that any people with a bit of talent that works for BlackBerry is jumping the sinking ship...not!"

Not really. When a company is bought as BlackBerry did with TAT, the principals of the company are required to stick around a couple of years to be sure of getting the cash.

In this case clearly the guys who started TAT left with a boatload of cash from BlackBerry when their contracted period expired.

No doubt with all that money they'd have left earlier if they were allowed.

Kiddo2050

Really in the end there was no TAT magic. I don't think I blame it all on BlackBerry I really think these people are good at art but art needs to translate to product to be useful. They just don't have the talent to do the back end stuff.

Posted via CB10

w0qj

Unfortunately the TAT acquisition did not translate into killer BB7 or BB10 interfaces as some had hoped...

Not sure if it was TAT's problem (given their track record), or that RIM/BlackBerry management did not listen to TAT...

KermEd

Well I suppose TATs a story for another day.

Posted via CB from my LE

CDM76

Go to another site. No one wants you here.

Posted via CB10

darkehawke

He speaks the truth. Open your eyes. How good would BlackBerry 10 have been with some of those concepts that was shown off

Posted via CB10

Xader

Must be exhausting switching back and forth between your two accounts, "Dave79" and "darkehawke"...

Dave79

Oh the conspiracy theory...you fan boys are a real sad case.

Tumacana

Yeah, Blackberry is doing Great! Keep buying Blackberry products blindly even if the management of the company SUCKS. No need to hold them accountable for ANYTHING! Is that Better? LOL

Dave79

darkehawke, they only want comments from people excited how well BlackBerry is doing, they still think BlackBerry is doing well. Look at an article earlier with news from Vodafone UK someone commented sayin that BlackBerry sales in the UK are doing well and growing. Sure they're groing if you sell 1 device a month and the next month you sell 3 it's a 200% growth but still you wont be around long selling 3 devices a month.

Now that even the most talented people left BlackBerry they still think it's all good. Probably the people of TAT all left BlackBerry because they are so frustrated how badly the company is run and how wasted their talent is.

It's all good guys, BB10 sales are growing, the missing apps will come, new hardware is on the way, BBM is a multiplatform success and the CEO isnt interested in cashing his close to $60million bonus but actually care about BlackBerry products and future.

ricocan

So you are the giver of enlightenment and truth? You have some kind of god given mission to save those who still like their Blackberries and think they have value? Wish I had that connection to 'reality and truth', but alas I don't and doubt that you do either. What you do have is the need to be a d!nk, for what ever reason there might be for that, but since you can throw out the "probably" statements there might be a few choice "probablies" about your motivations? Probably just killing time betwen p0rn flix, or probably hates because destruction is soo much easiet than creation and you have never created anything of value and you know it. But really what is the point, back to your movies at least you'll get some temporary relief from having to live with who you are.
Okay now please delete this post.

shinji_yasha

Best comment I've read so far... +10 :)

Posted via CB10

cletis

I agree with your last sentence, rico: Your post should be deleted.

You know, it's interesting: RIM used to long to have a share of the burgeoning consumer market, not content to be stuck in the (not unprofitable) niche of the Enterprise world. They lusted for the sales volume of an Apple or a Nokia. And now look at this site: Here is the biggest home for BB fans anywhere, and it's dominated by baseless, childish, infantile, unthinking, insulting crap like ricocan's post above. The only thing more prevalent on these fora than embarrassing posts like his is the dreaded "First" post, not generally tolerated on the Internet except on kiddie sites. Such juvenile antics are more typically seen on a pop-star-of-the-moment fan site, not a forum associated with an enterprise communications solution. So from this evidence, it's clear that RIM's dream of consumer market penetration has finally been achieved. Yay. Was it worth it?

(Granted, the fact that RIM did everything they could to destroy the strengths of the Enterprise solution they pioneered and copyrighted has at least as much to do with the kiddie takeover than the actual degree of market penetration into the consumer device market.)

Please understand that I've been a proud BB owner and administrator for almost 10 years. During that time, I've been a strong BB evangelist; hyping the (primarily business-side) strengths of the BB solution to whomever wanted to listen. And while I'm disillusioned with the company's direction change and failure to execute over these last couple of years, I remain hopeful that the product can survive, and hopefully make a comeback -- Apple came back from just as bad a spot, and look at them now. So I can say that I've been a BB fanboy longer and louder than those who explode in childish fury at anyone who disagrees with them, hurling insults and invective (and, naturally, plenty of ad hominem) and making lots of noise, but making no actual arguments beyond "you're ugly and stupid and the fact that you disagree with me means you must watch a lot of pr0n."

Ah, you get the point.

shootsscores

Love my Z. While responding to Dave's drivel, I got a notification signal, performed the "hockey stick" swipe to check what it was and in the single back and forth swipe returned to writing this reply with one thumb with a series of swipes and drinking a cup of coffee from a cup held in the other hand.

Pretty cool, eh?

shootsscores

Love it, myself. The multitasking is truly unmatched. Dealt with my accountant over speaker phone sending files, editing a spreadsheet, taking notes and sending emails all from my phone at the same time. He couldn't believe I was doing it all at once with a phone.

ya3goub

what device was that? Even in 2013 you don't have real multitasking outside BB10.

Posted via ZCB10

ya3goub

Yup, very cool indeed. Loving my Z10 so far, awaiting my Z30.

Posted via ZCB10

uzmarvel

We'll respect your comments if you guys are honest. But you only comment negatively always, and that's called 'hate' in english. Why are you guys even here? I don't go to imore or androidcentral unless I have something to do there, and I go there to get info and help. But you guys come here to flame stuff and run away. Isn't BGR or Verge enough for you guys? Go there and rant about BB how much you want, please.

BerryWizard

I want him here.

Posted via CB10

1magine

I want them here, Davey's right. If you saw what TAT did prior to BB acquiring them, you would ask yourself why isn't any of this in BB10? And the answer is the answer to why these individuals are no longer at BB.

bbfanboi

I think you're selling the TAT folks quite short! They put a lot of time & effort in BB10 and the QNX auto infortainment system. What puzzles me most is why you're even reading articles about BlackBerry? Us folks on the sinking ship really don't deserve your awesome presence.

bombastic

awesome presence :)
+1

iwasspartacus

Not surprising. Not allowing talented people to execute has historically been a great way to lose them.

Posted via CB10

unbreakablej

I agree. They seem to be the one with lots of cool innovative stuff but nothing seems to be implemented onto bb..

Posted via CB10

Ronic

Secondd

Posted via CB10

koolrosh

They should buy them again! And again everytime they try to leave. There is no escaping Blackberry!

Play Starcraft? Join our Channel: C001242DE

needforbbx

Maybe we can trade Thor for some TOPP talent - what 50 mill could buy

Soeasy

Yeah, that's a great way for BB to spend what's left of it's dwindling cash.

Kevin Michaluk

Ha. Thanks!

Been a busy few weeks. Another half day of catch up. By tomorrow I'll be hitting CB again more regularly. We'll do a CB hangout before the weekend, and I'll get a good 'ol Editors Desk post up. It's been a while.

IJKBB10

Looking forward to reading your upcoming articles :)

Jtaylor1986

I hope your response to can we still call you Crackberry Kevin on mobile nations podcast was because of the uncertainty of BlackBerry not your status with Crackberry!

Peevish

WHATS IN THE BOX!?!?!

Posted via CB10

LamarStarr

Bout time!!!!

Posted via CB10

DStLouis

This is the way business goes... When you have expertise doing something, peoples want to keep going in that succesfull direction, whatever who buy it and/or split it.
Many time people are not confortable with the new structure and simply restart their own business
Good luck to the new TOPP team.

Kevin Michaluk

Yeah. Very true. It's not uncommon when a company gets acquired for the people (especially owners) to leave once the mandatory time has been put in. What's sort of interesting / funny here is that it feels like there is an effort to really try and rebuild the original company again. Seven people leaving to build a new one comes across as a mutiny of sorts. Am guessing anybody from the TAT/BBSweden team will be hitting up TOPP first if they choose to leave. Also kind of interesting though that TOPP put BB10 in their portfolio... maybe that's pushing it a bit??

CDM76

Surprised no mention of a non-competition clause in the buy out. That is pretty standard these days and would protect these guys from creating a company that competes with BlackBerry for a number of years.

Posted via CB10

fatkiid

Non-compete clauses are not indefinite. And they're not competing with BlackBerry/RIM. They're a design consulting firm.

DStLouis

Well first question to answer.
Are they competing againts BlackBerry ?
Or if they are just developping new design for the industries, where BlackBerry/QNX could be potential customer ?

AnimalPak200

They just have to wait a few more months... there will be no BlackBerry to 'not compete against'

In any case, BlackBerry seems to be settling any legal fights (favorably for the other party), so I doubt the new TAT have anything to fear.

Posted via CB10

kupfernigk

In the EU at least, it is very hard to enforce any kind of non-compete agreement. EU law favours workers over corporations, US law the other way round.

bbfanboi

I think it is pushing it to market BB10 as a TOPP effort, even if they did work on it. Certainly, these 7 guys weren't responsible for all of the design and engineering that went into BB10.

ekafara

Pushing it? they wrote the the NDK did they not?

Spades1234

I hope that there is more work they've completed that we've yet to see for BlackBerry.

10

rav813

what a wasted opportunity for BlackBerry. They should've given carte blanche to TAT and retained that talent. That upper leadership is absolutely asinine.

DStLouis

TAT obviously have a lot of talent, but BlackBerry must have retricted all that potential to fit into a "business centric" device.
There are quite cool stuff, but are they all valuable for BlackBlerry?
The more I thing about it, the more I do believe that keeping them has a separate independent entities is the most valuable for the all industries. Some feature may be profitable for Samsung/Android (or whatever platform), while it may not be a fit for BlackBerry for example.

bbfanboi

Absolutely! You are right on. Much of the stuff they could do was too fluffy for a user interface. Game designers would love some of their stuff, but the core user interface of a smartphone can't be all snazzy. Can't blame them for moving on - we can only thank them for their efforts on BB10 and wish them success.

craigdh1

It's best... out with the old. a complete new start is need with BlackBerry. They need to get the cost of their devices down. And have a clean restart.

itsyaboy

Who can blame them? These guys are probably the creative types that need their freedom to make their own creative decisions. It's a bit of a bummer that BlackBerry couldn't profit more from TAT or at least more obvious.

playbookster

BlackBerry should buy them

Posted from my Z10

imcurved

At the moment, BlackBerry isn't in any position to buy anything. Apple, Windows, or Samsung may pick them up meanwhile...

playbookster

At this point with their 7 staff they are probably worth pennies on the dollar. They have no projects that we know of or any revenue worth noting. BlackBerry could easily buy them if they wanted to be bought.

Posted from my Z10

DStLouis

LOL
I dont think they will sell it.. Peoples there have potentially kind of suffer from the previous purchase, why would they do that ? only for money ?

rthonpm

Not a rare occurrence. When you know someone's work, why wouldn't you want to work with them again? I'd be shocked if a similar scenario doesn't play out where TOPP also gets bought. Some people love the challenge of building something and then once it's established moving on to a new challenge.

Posted via CB10

FSeverino

Kevin, are they even allowed to put BB10 in their portfolio?or anything else they did as TAT? Does BlackBerry not own TAT? Meaning all the projects they have worked on... technically TOPP has not worked on those projects. It is sad to see that BlackBerry essentially paid fir an entire company and only got one project out of them. these guys either planned this move at the beginning, which is wrong... or they needed to move out of BlackBerry due to constraints and restrictions, which at least would shown their dedication to innovation

Posted via CB10

DStLouis

These guys definitively have dedication to innovation. Its in the blood of any designer ...developping new cool stuff, otherwise they just get bored with few motivations.

Yes, has per my understanding, technically TOPP should have no project in their portefolio, but TOPP guys have these project in reference in their personnal portefolio.
...Now what the legal behind that ....we dont know and should let both involved parties to deal with it.
That not our role here.

slalom

Not unusual - when you buy a professional services firm (design, consulting, whatever) its only as good as the talent that comes - and stays - with it. You have to nurture that talent and make sure they are happy. Unfortunately when you buy a services firm, the assets walk out the door every night and unless you give them a good reason to stay, they may not come back.

textmint2013

Agreed

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10 (My stable: 8310, 8520, 9900, Z10)

mr_zed10

Quite insulting.

I guess business is business though.

Posted via CB10

playbookster

How many people work at TAT?

Posted from my Z10

xsacha

Well, there was 8... now they work for TOPP :P

3Athlete

I am not surprised to see this at all. A lot of what people saw on the playbook from TAT never came to fruition. It was a big source of frustration for a lot of people that bought into it. Maybe blackberry was stifling them and not using their creations to their full potentional. Wouldn't surprise me given the opposition to BBM going cross platform.

Posted via CB10 on my Q10

PegBerry

Welcome Kevin, our favorite talent here at CrackBerry. For TOPP team, I wish them well. Goodluck guys.

RyanGermann

That's a shame if brilliant creative types are no longer with BlackBerry... because now, when BlackBerry doesn't have much (anything?) to lose by taking some risks, this would be the time to cut loose a bit and try some really adventurous (ok, not necessarily "risky") UX changes to BB10. Maybe even only as betas to iron out the kinks and get customer feedback from us prosumers. I hope that enough of that brain trust is still with BlackBerry Sweden, but I don't blame them for leaving if too many of their cool ideas are left out of the finished product. It's not very rewarding for a creative person to be told time and time again "what you have worked hard on and think is cool is too far-out to build into an actual product that gets to end users." I'd leave, too.

fatkiid

I guess Swedes also like to sausage party.

lnichols

These guys were probably suffocated by RIM/BlackBerry culture and not allowed to thrive. I guess BlackBerry got what they wanted out of them although it makes you wonder if their is a future for BlackBerry without these guys there.

Simon Sage

Did you see BlackBerry Sweden's Jam Asia demo? I think they're getting plenty of opportunity to get creative. 

Dave79

All we see are demos but nothing gets delivered. They clearly had enough wasting their talent in a company like BlackBerry.

Simon Sage

Well, it's not like a rocking chair pong game is going to get preloaded on every BB10 device from here on in. Cascades was the major deliverable from TAT, and developers have been using it like crazy. Plus all of the smooth transitions and UI work in BB10 you likely have BlackBerry Sweden to thank for. The last time they delivered an app directly to users was Scrapbook on the PlayBook, and I wouldn't have classified that as a make-or-break product for the platform. 

I think the TOPP team was formed in the same spirit as Jakobsson's departure: "cause I'm a startup-guy and even if I really liked the company and the people, I felt it was time to start another one." Designers and artists like dabbling in a lot of different things, and being strapped to a single company limits that flexibility. Besides, if BlackBerry Sweden is still over 100 people strong, I wouldn't say 7 departures is going the completely sap them of talent. 

needforbbx

Well said! A voice of reason

uzigunz

According to 2012 WSJ article, they were roughly a 200-person outfit at time of purchase.

imcurved

reminding me of ScrapBook app in the PlayBook.

John Vieira

They buy the company, most likely the TaT guys became frustrated with the way BlackBerry does business, and picked up and left.

It was a good purchase for BlackBerry, but you have to secure your purchase, give them a reason to stick around.

They paid these guys millions of dollars... for them to leave and open a new company, and leave BlackBerry with the scraps.

It really speaks volumes about the way they run their business.

Right now, my opinion is that BlackBerry products are excellent, but their management is sub-par at best.

Posted from the Shield Helicarrier

steiale

If BlackBerry 10 was such a desaster as the market looks like it is not such a good idea to advertise with it. Makes no sense to use a flop as reference work.

Alphax45

This explains why none of the cool TAT stuff that was shown off is in BB10... :(

Playbook007

People come and people go. Maybe they ran out of creativity and BlackBerry said it's time to go. Who knows, I don't really care. Waiting for the z30!

Trolls should be forced to use BB10!

moxy

I really don't blame the guys at TAT for leaving considering how BlackBerry looks like they stuck them into a box and TAT really did things that extended into other ecosystems. It's a shame that BB didn't take full advantage of TAT.

nemo7

TAT ist Tot.

Posted via BlackBerry Z810

FOR RIM

CRACKBERRY COMMUNITY

WATCH THIS VIDEO WATCH IT GONNA LOVE IT LINK :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_by44N9o50

canuckvoip

Gotta get a Z30... :>)

gfondeur

I'm in loved of the z30

LoganSix

TAT logo in the video.
That's pushing it a little too far.

AllSystemGo

I think BlackBerry just died by loosing them. They should have left them create more... Anyways sucks that half of their concept never made it out.

mikeycollins13

Quite sad Heins and Co managed to chase even the most talented people from Blackberry. Speaks to his leadership qualities...none

Posted via CB10

Siya10

Good for them... !

Posted via CB10

aloomis76

That demo in the video from the link "showed off some awesome concepts" is by far the best thing ever. I remember seeing that, and on PlayBooks no less, and thinking they really have something here...and then nothing...

WTF!?!?! They seriously need to drop that functionality NOW...if they can get that running as smooth as it was on a PlayBook (not knocking the PlayBook here) then imagine what they can do with a BB10 device? And it was all bridged to a 9900!! Hello BlackBerry, update that includes this would be great or drop that app on us now!!

Thank you.

FOR RIM

VIDEO IS NOT SHOWING A CONCEPT ITS A REAL FEATURE IN NEW BB10 OS 10.2
AND AVAILABLE WITH Z30

El Platanero

I can't believe the blind comments on here. I used to be one of you guys. We talked about ishseep? This is much worst. With the innovation in tat would have been untouchable. No wonder the photo app from the playbook never made it to bb10. You guys can call me a troll if you want but I say if they couldn't even hold on to their team then there was more going on than just the media dogging bb10. I really want blackberry to succeed but without apps, marketing and now the talent what are we expecting? We dogged the double headed CEO team but they at least put out product that sold. Now? Now I have my beloved Blackberry fading away like a fart in the wind. Always believed in blackberry but I'm not sure if I can support the current upper staff.

Pootermobile

For those saying BlackBerry didn't use TAT in BB10, have you forgotten about Cascades? The core user experience in BB10 was created by TAT. They were the ones that created the SDK so that developers can bring apps to you. That's a pretty thing if you ask me. Of course the concepts they made would've been awesome in BB10, maybe even changed the perception people have about BlackBerry. Sad to see these creative people leave BlackBerry.

New_Z10

No. This is a study in a destructive culture. TAT should have been a key product differentiator. In stead they left and will compete with BlackBerry. It's very discouraging. Cascades was what? - 2% of what was possible. Too bad.

Posted via CB10

FryBerry

Really, this could be as simple as BlackBerry letting them leave, and will outsource a lot of design to TOPP. It's probably cheaper, and BlackBerry has done a lot of cost cutting the past few months.
TOPP putting BB10 in their portfolio says to me that this was not a bitter departure.
I'm thinking TOPP will design a lot for BB, whatever BlackBerry ends up being.

Posted via CB10

TioPepe78

Can they use the TAT logo and Blackberry devices in their videos? Anyway, hope Blackberry takes the leash off of the rest of the TAT team remaining, certainly bringing some crazy stuff to the BB10 UI next year may do an impression in the market.

EchoesFX

TAT's work is sorely underused by BlackBerry, especially on the PlayBook front.

Just imagine how different things could have gone for the tablet if the things they demonstrated on the device actually made it into the hands of PlayBook owners?

I'm sure TOPP will design some nice stuff moving forward, let's hope they get their chance to really shine.

Posted via CB10

quizm

What is most important to me is that BlackBerry continue to invest in TAT-like creativity and talent. Studying consumer needs and applying innovation and creativity is essential in this market. In fact it's good that talent come and go - keep finding the best. I do think it wrong if this new company claims bv10 as its product. I mean it is still a work in process, no?

Posted via CB10

Pirate_King

Is it me only or is this CB10 app or anyone else seeing this; does anyone proof read the articles in CB before posting because in some articles, there are minor typos, spelling, grammar, and/or vocabulary or context errors and it doesn't matter who is the author. LOVE you lots Kevin! And I think it is a typo because you are Mr. Perfect for me when I read, "This team also played a huge roll in the design of BlackBerry 10.", as a role is played and not a roll. However, it could be autotext error by the super fast, super amazing and super beautiful BB 10!

Posted via CB10

cletis

You must be new. CB is and has always been much like the rest of the web; there is no expectation of grammatical correctness, and in fact I believe that there is a strong belief -- among tech bloggers especially -- that having typos in your posts is a good thing, as it gives the impression that no time was taken for such nonsense as proofreading, and therefore the blog content must be bleeding-edge, out-before-the-solder's-dry current. And any blogger who fixes their typos when nobody else is doing so runs the risk of looking slow and stodgy, and concerned more with image than with keeping up to the latest femtosecond with the changing tech landscape.

Personally, it drives me crazy, but I tend to cry at the obvious signs of a society descending into ignorance and chaos -- like the misuse of apostrophes, the substitution of then/than, it's/its, where/were, loose/lose, etc. -- and the success of Facebook.

foxfoxcool

BB will layoff 1000 in next week.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

textmint2013

???? What's ur source for this info????? Do u know something that we don't know?

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10 (My stable: 8310, 8520, 9900, Z10)

LyBerry

Would love to see them make some of the concept apps "actual" apps and submit them to BlackBerry World for us to finally be able to download.

Posted via CB10

nuff_said

So much for all the TAT is working on 10.3

Question: does BlackBerry own all of TATs concepts from the purchase? I think legally they would but not sure what the legal agreement was.

ankush77

TAT or whatever ,apple or other big platforms also had some great innovators which left them but these companies are still growing smartly and at a good pace,my point is people come and go but the spirit should be there to create better value and products ,which comes to the conclusion that new talent comes to show a refreshing change,its a dynamic circle which will move always .

tmichaelmorrissey

Kevin: please go out of town again. There is nothing significantly happening at the moment. Perhaps if you do, maybe BBM will get launched cross platform :)

Posted via CB10

Tyler Nellissen

Probably because BlackBerry barely utilized their ideas.

Posted via CB10

RECOOL

Hmm I see some stuff blown out of proportion as usual.Topp has BB10 in there portofilio which means they are still working for BB.Its just that under this company they can work on other things that are not just blackberry centric and peopel still need to work.They did their job as building the OS and framework they have alot of concepts but not alot of actually real life use case stuff.Alot of concepts just show whats capablethe rest has to be down to the devs.This is why framework is created so that devs can use whatever they like qt,java,cascades to create apps.These guys are awesome but they can only do so much.With plenty of peopel devs with time to learn the framework they can build awesome things just like the theme builders on BBOS.

TAT were'nt going to do all work also not everyone left.Notice how BB10 and QNX is still there.They still work for BB its just that with this they can work on other things plus its a fail safe on whatever happens to BB.Im sure tehre's still talent there and hungry kids to step up.Overall it is what it is there's a reason why they have gone from company to company and never stayed for long term.

dejanh

I think that this is a classic case of a talented design firm that does not want to conform to commercial needs. Not much benefit of buying these types of businesses ever as they are not likely to want to do any production work. They likely just want to continue playing with design.

On a side note, doesn't look like we'll ever see much of TAT in BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

HUNTZODIAC

Wow is all I can say...I was just talking about how BlackBerry should unleash TAT and now I see this Wow is all I can say

Posted via CB10 with my Z10

KenFletch

Hey gloomy ones, silver lining ... that's 8 juicy severance packages they don't have to pay

wincyUt

Oh well, BlackBerry didn't unleash them, so it's good they have been set free like a bird. Why waste s good think.
This bumbling BlackBerry management team is so inept that I'm just speechless.

Posted via CB10

maqsbb

In the current context, I think that TAT personnel remains on board is actually very good news. It makes me hope that in 10.3 we will finally see a major overhaul of the UI. I feel it suffers from the desire - much like the bb10 phones' design - to play it safe.

- No customization of the OS as in BBOS (themes)? Come on, Blackberry, how are you going to sell the Q5 to the kids then?
- Icons are retro in a bad sense; to hide the ugly tray around them I have to use dark wallpaper
- when I open the notification bar, it only gives me the date (and why the hell do I have to open it for this information?). Other information (flows) should be integrated. It feels unfinished.
- active frames are too static.
- lack of multicolor led notifications without app running in the background (as in late BBOS 7.1)

I believe the basis is good (cascades) and functionally pleasing, but some thinking out of the box would be very welcome to overcome the excessively austere aspects of the OS. Customization was a strength of the previous OS. The increase in screen size and resolution also makes more important the visually pleasing aspects of the OS. I hope BlackBerry gives TAT some space to express themselves on these issues.

Posted via CB10

mnc76

It's BlackBerry's fault for not letting TAT play a bigger part in the BB10 UI.

The old guard BlackBerry management probably stepped in and said "that is WAY too innovative! We want more of the same stuff other vendors already have".

BlackBerry management is garbage.

I support BB10, NOT BB Management!

mnc76

This is what you get when you hire creative people and then stifle their creativity. They're gonna bolt.

I support BB10, NOT BB Management!

Houshinto

What a waste. The good talent is leaving, while the clueless imbeciles that ran Blackberry into the ground are still at helm. The sad thing is probably what's left of TAT probably will not do much to push the envelope like those who left. So Blackberry now has a TAT shell that will just putter around or improve things incrementally at best. Wonder if vital QNX members will leave next.

mnc76

Yup! The people left behind are probably the ones that were happy to produce the also-ran, run-of-the-mill stuff that the BlackBerry old guard wants.

I hate BlackBerry management.

I support BB10, NOT BB Management!

digtech

That's what happens when you stifle the talent of creative persons... they can't stay one place for too long and they can't work on the same things for too long, things that never make it into consumer hands.. what's the point of creating these awesome demos and betas if they keep them locked inside BlackBerry. Art/Design/Creative is meant to be showcased and BlackBerry is stifling these creators so they left to breathe.

I would say that the magic has left BlackBerry but really the magic was there - Untapped and tamed so it doesn't make much of a difference. This will probably be in the history books... The year that BlackBerry died. 2013 has really been a sht year for the company.

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Xandrex_BSCF

They did a terrific job for some of the core apps in the PlayBookOS, as well as some of the core apps of the BlackBerry10 platform, okay.

But remember that without them, there would not be any Cascades stuff in BlackBerry 10. They are known for the visual candy, but BlackBerry10 also benefited a lot from them.

I do not think that RIM wasted their abilities, it's just that their abilities go beyond what can be done on a smartphone.
There is enough eye candy in the BlackBerry 10 platform already.

*****

That being said, I am not found of their vertical website at all.

BlackberryFan777

It's often the case that a design firm has one real designer and many other implementers. At this point, I wonder if any of the really creative designers remain. When I was at BB Live, I heard some frustration from other BlackBerry employees about BlackBerry Sweden. Expressions of discontent about other members of the team were rare back then.

I actually wouldn't have minded if BlackBerry paid $25 million for a UI on BlackBerry 10 that would distinguish their app and then lost some of that talent. But, let's be honest. The BB10 UI is good, but not sexy. And Cascades really requires developers to learn QT / C++, which is a huge barrier to entry and no doubt contributed to the app ecosystem situation. Sure, if Apple required developers to learn a bunch of old Nokia UI stuff and memory management tasks, people would jump, but BlackBerry 10 is a new platform without a large installed customer base. Probably if TAT hadn't been brought on board, the NDK would have been designed to be as familiar to devs as possible -- maybe requiring only knowledge of Javascript, which could be compiled for performance.

You kind of have to wonder whether Gary left for Sweden to reimagine the UI or to evaluate whether the sinking ship could be saved. Hopefully, both! 10.3 will give us a better idea.

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Wilsonia Goldens

What can you expect! These folks are too talented to be employees! Their own Company! Their own Boss and starting their own fortune.

tro_lol_o

Just a bunch of noob latercomers except for two pretty awesome guys.

Most of them were just part of the innovation dept making fake video demo concepts that were not even attempted to deploy in anything remotely close to reality. The few that actually was tried to bring into reality failed miserably even before attempted launch.

Now, these guys have business leads and can make up cool concept videos, so it might just work!

I wonder if evem 25% of the original are still there? The founders sure made a good job at scaring away all the creative people by hiring old consultancy firm bosses with excel sheets of who should work with what.

Now, to end this, as a concept Cascades was right on. Executed very poorly though. In reality it was an unworkable entangled mess, mostly because of poor leadership and pure obstruction. Before it was refactored post-RIM takeover (Notice, AFTER they bought TAT) . But when RIM took over and had the sense to put the money and resources where golden egg was, it became a pretty good product.

Too bad on the surface, they also managed to borify it immensely.

Ta!

FrankDLR1972

WTF

 BBM Channel: TheGroupRide C00055B7C

ssbtech

Personally I prefer the more professional, less polished approach of the BB10 UI. That being said it is somewhat dull and could do with some sprucing up. The little animations used in "Print to go" for example - why aren't they used anywhere else such as in the photo albums? Remember how the photos in the PlayBook photo album do a sort of cross-fade as you swipe between them?

The "jiggly" thing iOS does when you press and hold icons is a bit goofy, but there are ways to incorporate tasteful animations into a visually rich UI.

I don't think TAT was allowed to "be TAT" while at BlackBerry.

How about multiple alarms on the clock? Press and hold the orange handle and another one pops out that you drag to set another alarm. No, instead we get stuck with digging around menus.

BB10QNX

Well, TAT's not good. Maybe, BB, or whoever owns it here shortly, will have to get to the TOPP of the list to buy these guys out again ;-). Just tell them, no matter where you go, you cannot hide, we WILL find you and keep buying you, next time, put it in the contract 'not allowed to start another LIKE company or aquire the personnel currently employed to do it'.

Skandalous1

This is a good thing. BB10's interface is a disappointment, and not reflective at all of the talent of TAT. Better for them to break loose and produce the amazing work we thought they were being acquired for in the first place.

Kiddo2050

All Kevin's stuff now is either negative or on Mobile Nations. Crack berry Kevin is gone. Don't blame him. Royally burned

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Solar 77

Hey just as long as we get consistent design for 10.3 then I'm happy. Was wondering who will do this now that TAT is gone?

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RECOOL

TAT haven't ''gone'' as people think.These guys are some of the original founders.All they have done is create another design company.That lets them design for other things.BB just do phones and QNX.With TOPP They can design for tvs,vending machines and a whole bunch of other stuff BB are not involved in.So yeah its a good move for them additionally it looks to me this is a way to keep the some of teh guys BB are firing and for TOPP to hire some the layed off coders from TAT and nokia sweden.There's a reason why BB10 and QNX car design is in their portoflio and they no the future push of QNx and vvehicles there's no way they will just leave those potential and that knowledge and resource. Looks like they are still at BB and have just started another company to diversify and keep people in jobs.

RIM99

You are an enigma Kevin. Gas on a fire....ok interesting concept and could understand if there was value...Trolls and Haters gonna dig this. Oh well doesn't change my opinion that you guys do a great job, but sometimes timing is a critical issue, when someone is down and we decide to throw another small but negative article on the heap just puts a little tingle of doubt in my mind. Still a CB fan, just getting a little tired of the negative stuff (mostly trolls and haters)...may just take a break from CB for a little bit until things have a chance to evolve and mature...Take care - Rim99

malingering

They didn't mention BlackBerry in their previous service..

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Bacon Munchers

I see Google being interested in TAT. Google glass, plus the TAT concepts....

allwi

Hmmm ... though not devasting, still bad news I believe.

Having a creative think thank - even if only 5% of the thought become productized - if great.
And I love the Cascade concept of BB10 - which makes it the best (though not ideal) mobile OS on the market.

adonesc

...and so the exodus begins! Avro Arrow anyone?

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MozThaGreat

So sad about this. Was really looking forward to see a redesign from TAT. Oh well, I guess TAT was a bad choice for BB. I doubt they were ever going to let TAT have creative freedom with the OS.

ekkescorner

taking a look at the founders of TOPP I noticed Anders Larsson, who left BlackBerry Sweden in march, so it's not really new. all the great designers and developers I'm in contact with at Cascades team (BB Sweden) are still their, so I really don't think that the fact of 7 designers leaving will change much.
I have expected this - even if BlackBerry would be in better condition.
Designers always like new challenges and now with BlackBerry 10 it's more like evolution and fine-tuning.

Raketa Alba

Not allowing talented people to execute has historically been a great way to lose them