ZTE is ‘phasing out’ the Kickstarter campaign for its crowd-sourced Project Hawkeye smartphone that features a hands-free eye-tracking mode aided by a self-adhesive case.
Jeff Yee, ZTE’s vice-president of technology planning and partnerships, indicated the likelihood of this decision to MobileSyrup in January 2017. Yee leads the crowd-sourced initiative, Project CSX, that led to Hawkeye. He stated that pulling it down was likely because the current specs weren’t interesting to people.
Yee previously posted in the forums dedicated to Hawkeye that the company made a mistake opting for mid-range specs when its early contributors and fans were clearly more of an enthusiast demographic that favours high-end specs.
The executive still expressed hope for the project in general, however.
“We said we were going to launch this in 2017, so we’ve got time to course correct,” said Yee. “We haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet, a lot of it comes from consumers themselves anyway so we’re conducting yet another poll but I think we will make a decision based on consumer feedback that will probably take us a different direction than what’s currently posted on Kickstarter.”
After acknowledging that the specs weren’t right for the demographic, the company posted a poll asking what high-end spec consumers would most like to see in Hawkeye, hoping to make clear the desires of its community. Many members of the community, however, chose to add a comment rather than an option, and listed multiple high-end specs while still requesting a low-end price point, leaving ZTE with some difficult decisions to make.
In its final post on Kickstarter, ZTE assured those that pledged that they would receive refunds and urged followers to return to the Z-Community forums to further discuss Project CSX and Hawkeye. It also stated that it would push back its release date, while not offering any further specifics on when consumers can expect to see the device take form.