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ZTE Cancels Kickstarter For Self-Adhesive, Eye-Tracking Hawkeye Smartphone: What's Next For The Crowdsourced Device?

18 February 2017, 7:15 am EST By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
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Just one day before the deadline, ZTE has decided to shut down the Kickstarter campaign for the crowdsourced Hawkeye smartphone, continuing the self-adhesive, eye-tracking device's rocky start.

The crowdfunding campaign for Hawkeye, at the time that it was cancelled, was only able to raise $36,245, which is well below the goal of $500,000.

ZTE Hawkeye History

The self-adhesive, eye-tracking smartphone concept is the winner of ZTE's Project CSX, which is a crowdsourcing project that brought in several interesting ideas for the company's next device.

The smartphone was unveiled at CES 2017 as the Hawkeye, showcasing the device's concept of minimizing user interaction. With a self-adhesive back cover, users can stick the Hawkeye onto a wall, and then with the eye-tracking technology, issue commands and perform tasks using only eye movements.

ZTE launched Hawkeye's Kickstarter campaign at CES 2017 to allow interested customers to purchase the smartphone at a special price of $199, though with minimal information on its specifications. More detailed specifications were later revealed for the Hawkeye, revealing a midrange smartphone with an octa-core 2.0 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 32 GB of internal storage expandable by up to 256 GB, and 3 GB of RAM.

The midrange specifications for the Hawkeye drew criticism from the project's supporters, who expected the smartphone to pack flagship-level specifications. ZTE apologized for the mistake, claiming that it only wanted to keep the price of the Hawkeye low so that more people would be able to gain access to the self-adhesive, eye-tracking device.

ZTE tried to rectify the issue by asking Project CSX supporters on what they want to be done to improve support for the Hawkeye, with the limitation that it should be feasible to sell the device at the previously released price of $199.

ZTE Hawkeye Kickstarter Cancelled

It seems that it was not possible to rescue the Hawkeye from its rocky start, as ZTE has now cancelled the Kickstarter campaign for the smartphone.

ZTE vice president of planning and partnerships Jeff Yee, in a post on the official Project CSX forums, noted that while the crowdfunding campaign for the Hawkeye was phased out, the project has not ended. The company is now reevaluating the self-adhesive, eye-tracking smartphone and urged supporters to stay tuned to the Kickstarter page and the Project CSX forums to participate in what is coming next for the Hawkeye.

According to Yee, ZTE heard it loud and clear that supporters wanted the Hawkeye to feature more powerful specifications compared to the midrange level that was showcased for the device in the failed Kickstarter campaign. The smartphone will need to be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820, if not the Snapdragon 835, Yee said, adding that while going back to the design phase is not what ZTE wanted to do at this stage, it believes that this is the right thing to do.

The company has also decided to push back the release date of the Hawkeye, previously set in September, so that ZTE will be able to deliver the smartphone with higher specifications. No new release date has been finalized, but ZTE will continue to provide updates and collaborate with supporters throughout the whole process.

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