ZTE weighing options for crowdsourced Hawkeye smartphone, may cancel device entirely

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Things with ZTE’s Project CSX crowdsourced smartphone haven’t been going well lately, with the phone having launched on Kickstarter earlier this month and currently only at $36,000 of its $500,000 goal, and then ZTE saying that it made a “mistake” with the device. Now ZTE has revealed what’s next for the device.

Jeff Yee, VP of Technology Partnerships and Planning for ZTE North America, has said that his company is “rethinking” how it will sell the Project CSX/Hawkeye phone. “Kickstarter just wasn’t the right place to sell this phone,” Yee explained to Android Central.

As for what happens to the Hawkeye now, ZTE hasn’t yet decided. The company is still weighing its options, but Yee has said that it’s possible that the phone will be cancelled entirely. ZTE does want to use the Hawkeye’s eye-tracking and adhesive case features, though, so they may be added to a future Axon flagship phone.

“This whole process has been a learning experience for us and because it is an industry first, we’ve learned so much from the program,” Yee said. “If we choose to do it again, we now know how to break it down and learn from our past — and learn from our mistakes.”

The premise of Project CSX/Hawkeye was an interesting one, letting consumers name features that they’d like to see in a phone and then picking the best and actually building that device. It didn’t turn out so well in practice, though, as the consumers that participated wanted a high-end flagship smartphone but ZTE wanted a mass market product that’d appeal to (and be affordable for) lots of people.

At this point, it’s looking unlikely that the ZTE Hawkeye will meet its crowdfunding goal. We’ll have to wait to see if ZTE adds in other features that people want, like a high-end Snapdragon 835 processor that would also make the phone more expensive, or if ZTE just scraps the project altogether and opts to build the eye-tracking and adhesive case features into a future Axon phone.

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