ZTE admits mistake and reconsiders specs for crowdsourced phone Hawkeye

The Chinese telco hardware maker is considering upgrading the specs for its crowdsourced smartphone Hawkeye after learning of disappointed Kickstarter backers.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Specifications for ZTE's new Hawkeye smartphone are being reconsidered after the company learned of disappointed backers of the phone's crowdfunding campaign, ZTE's VP Jeff Yee has admitted in the company's community page.

The specs, which were revealed after the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, were considered unsatisfactory by consumers who took a leap of faith and backed the campaign for the smartphone early on.

Project CSX was undertaken by the Chinese telco hardware maker in 2016 in an attempt to engage consumers in the process of designing a new smartphone. The "winning" idea was ultimately a smartphone featuring a self-adhering case and eye-tracking technology to enable hands-free experiences.

Just last week, the company confirmed that Hawkeye would be be equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, a 3,000mAh battery, 12MP and 13MP dual-rear cameras, and dual SIM capabilities with the option for expandable memory up to 256GB.

"After posting the project on Kickstarter and then releasing the detailed specifications of Hawkeye, we realize that our decision to introduce the CSX hands-free features on a mid-range device may not have met the expectations of those that backed this project and those that are early adopters and discovering Project CSX through Kickstarter," the company acknowledged in a blog post. "It was our mistake."

Given the company cannot reduce its single $199 pledge level on Kickstarter, it is yet again turning to consumers to choose features that would justify the price. While polling the public is what led ZTE to this position, the company is keeping with the crowdsourced theme in hopes that it will rectify the situation.

Among the choices that ZTE is polling users, the most popular appears to be the upgrade from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor to an 835. Other options include an upgrade from a 3,000mAh to 3,500mAh battery and a pure Android experience.

The company has also done poorly on Kickstarter, raising just $35,000 to date out of its $500,000 funding goal.

Earlier in January, it was revealed that ZTE would axe 5 percent of its 60,000 global workforce in Q1 2017, amid looming US trade sanctions that could negatively impact its supply chain.

Editorial standards