After a month and a half of letting its Hawkeye phone flounder on Kickstarter, ZTE is finally ending the campaign. It received $36,245 out of its $500,000 funding goal. In a post on the Kickstarter today, ZTE writes that it’s decided to end the campaign after considering feedback provided on the campaign page and its user Z-Community forum.
The Hawkeye phone, aka Project CSX, has a long backstory filled with bad corporate decisions. It started in January 2016 when ZTE said its users would help determine the features on its next devices. These fans eventually voted on different ideas for phones and chose a self-adhesive, eye-tracking device as the one they’d most like to see made into reality. Instead of manufacturing the phone and releasing it as the company would normally, it decided to put the phone on Kickstarter because it apparently seemed like the natural choice. The phone’s specs, however, weren’t released until after the crowdfunding campaign launched, and when they did come out, the phone turned out to be completely underwhelming. Its midrange specs didn’t call to possible Hawkeye phone backers who wanted a self-adhesive, eye-tracking flagship. ZTE admitted error in January for both the crowdfunding campaign and the terrible specs, but didn’t end the Kickstarter. Clearly now the company is rethinking that choice.
Dang, writing this all down is really making me realize how long and dumb this saga has been. In reality, ending the campaign will likely prove to be ZTE’s best decision.
The Hawkeye’s Kickstarter page will remain live, so ZTE can continue to update the incredibly small number of people who are invested in the Hawkeye.
Now, this isn’t goodbye to the self-adhesive, eye-tracking phone. The company says it’s reevaluating and might put these features into a higher-end device. ZTE says it 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.” Hopefully this means no more crowdfunding campaigns from a global phone retailer.