Google is faced with the departure and arrival of two great things: its modular phone Project Ara is now available on beta, but its chief designer Dan Makoski is officially out of the company.
Google also announced the first beta testers—who are called Ara Scouts—of the much talked about modular phone.
“As promised, the 100 most active Ara scouts will be among the first to receive a phone — gratis. We couldn't have done it without you!” writes Google.
More than 90,000 people were signed up as Scouts since October last year.
The tech company says it will need the beta testers’ advice and feedback again as soon as they receive their Ara phones and will continue to polish the modular phone’s prototype.
Meanwhile, Makoski’s departure from Google, which he announced in his personal blog, came as a surprise for many.
“Starting tomorrow, there will be no more free lunches, subsidized massages, weekly company meetings, ringing colorful bicycle bells, or working with the brilliant pirates at Google’s Advanced Technology & Projects team, or ATAP,” reads Makoski’s post.
He adds that he’ll miss working most with the team of Project Ara and the thousands of the Ara Scouts worldwide, and then reveals he’s jumping ship to bank firm Capital One as vice president of Design.
What exactly is a veteran designer like Makoski going to do in a bank firm isn’t clear as of now, except that he will be with Capital One to build what he calls a money team and to focus on innovations that will help people to connect with their finances in significant and enjoyable ways.
Research says team members of ATAP are under two-year contracts only. By Makoski’s blog post, apparently it was his choice to leave Google and not to renew the contract.
“And I don’t blame you if you’re like a few of my colleagues who think I’m a bit insane to leave one of the world’s most admired tech companies for a bank,” his post states.
Makoski states his reasons for leaving one of the most-admired tech firms in the world. One of which is how “Capital One has been steadily building a quiet but extraordinary design thinking, strategy and execution culture on top of its already legendary data analytics capability.”
Other observers, however, are in doubt if Makoski even had the chance to renew his contract.
Besides Google’s Project Ara, Makoski was also credited for the successful project Moto X.