ZTE Hawkeye

It has been a rocky start for ZTE’s crowdsourced phone, the Hawkeye. After selecting a winning team from last year’s competition where the company asked the community to submit design and feature ideas for Project CSX, ZTE unveiled the Hawkeye at CES. Unfortunately, no one was really impressed with the handset and now ZTE has completely canceled its Kickstarter campaign…

The winning feature-set from ZTE’s Project CSX competition included eye-tracking and an adhesive backing. While both were still under development when the company unveiled the phone, they promised that it would be ready once the phone finally shipped.

When ZTE announced the specs of the Hawkeye, though, most people who wanted the smartphone were disappointed by the mid-tier hardware. The specs included a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 12MP and 13MP dual rear-facing camera setup, 8MP front-facing camera, and a 3,000mAh battery.

Then, last month, ZTE asked the community once again for help. Its dilemma was that the phone was already live on Kickstarter with no way to change the pricing tiers to adjust for a higher-end smartphone. The company also asked for further feedback on what other features and functionality users would want in the device.

After only receiving a little over $36 thousand of the $500 thousand that was needed to launch the Hawkeye, ZTE has canceled the campaign — at least for now. In an update to backers, ZTE states that it has listened to the community and will re-evaluate the device’s features and will work on making it a higher-spec’d handset. ZTE felt that it was best to cancel the Kickstarter campaign in its current form, work on the Hawkeye’s improvements, and wait to announce a new release date for the smartphone. The company’s full statement can be read below.

You can head on over to ZTE’s forums if you would like to learn more about the Hawkeye and follow along as the company makes it into the phone that the community wants it to be.

Project CSX has always been about going against the norm and trying something different. But above all, it’s been about listening to you, the consumer. Based on the feedback we’ve received on both Kickstarter and our own Z-Community forum, we’ve decided to phase out this campaign; however, this doesn’t mean the project is over.  We are reevaluating the device for the winning Project CSX idea – an eye-tracking feature with self adhesive backing – and it will be implemented based on your feedback.

So, what’s next?

Funding and collaboration – Thank you to everyone who pledged and backed this project so far. Please know that pledges will be voided and your pledged amount will be refunded. While we will be able to continue to use this Kickstarter page as a means to communicate about Hawkeye, I’d urge you to participate on our Z-Community form as this hosts the largest community collaborating on Project CSX/Hawkeye.

Better specs – You requested that the winning Project CSX idea – an eye-tracking, self adhesive phone – be implemented on a higher spec’d device than what we initially proposed through Kickstarter. We’ve heard you loud and clear as we are reevaluating the device features that are implemented in to the device.

Product timeline – Based on your feedback we have determined it is best to push back the date of the release in order to deliver a higher spec’d device. While we are still finalizing the new date, we will continue providing updates and collaborate with the community throughout the entire process.

All of your support, perspectives and suggestions are what has driven Hawkeye so far, and for that we are grateful. We will continue to push the boundaries, think outside the box, and pave new paths to ultimately deliver a device that you want, all while continuing to listen and explore with you every step of the way.

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About the Author

Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at justin@jaduino.com. Tips are always welcome.