HTC has gone through several management shakeups in the past few years in a quest for lost glory and profitability, gradually squandering its reputation as an early smartphone innovator and that unique identity which once helped the Taiwanese company stand out in a sea of unoriginal Android device vendors.
Of the many executives that were either forced out or left the ship of their own free will, Scott Croyle’s departure probably hurt the OEM the most. Croyle joined HTC in 2008 as a Senior Vice President of Design and User Experience, moving to then startup Nextbit Systems in 2014 to create the crowdfunded “cloud-first” Robin.
Earlier this year, Nextbit was acquired by gaming hardware powerhouse Razer, which is widely expected to unveil its rookie smartphone effort next week. If that’s the case, you have to assume Croyle was involved in the seemingly Robin-similar design of the aptly named Razer Phone.
But in an unexpected turn of events, HTC’s ex-design guru and Nextbit’s former board member chose today to announce he’s reuniting with Daniel Hundt to found a San Francisco studio called Attic.
Hundt has a pretty impressive résumé himself, working as a Senior Industrial Designer and Creative Director at Croyle’s old One&Co firm, then “directing” HTC’s “creative” team for a year and a half, and fulfilling the AVP Design role from early 2015 to now.
“Dedicated to elevating design and the clients we work for”, Attic aims to “provide key insights on strategy, connections and introductions in key areas necessary to launch brands and products.”
The newly formed design company already covers a wide range of product categories, securing a number of unnamed clients involved in more than just consumer electronics.
It’s obviously going to be interesting to see what this means for the debut Razer Phone and the gaming giant’s future mobile device ambitions. Was Croyle unhappy with his former employer’s plans? Will an eventual sequel look radically different from the gadget likely to be announced on November 1? We may never know.