It's not just ex-employees, there are thousands of Neo owners who are also participating in various efforts. And you don't need to be an owner to participate in designing new hardware, only if you are participating in the various distribution/software developments. And the current A7 version of FreeRunner will continue to ship.
Of course in the long run newer hardware would be needed, but at least now for the first time I actually _start_ recommending Neo FreeRunner to people I've so far told to wait for the buzz-fixed version, which is now shipping.
And I'll happily use my FreeRunner for as long as it lasts, if it's truly so that nothing better comes along, like it looks currently.