Following reports which came out just under 3 weeks ago that ZTE's Kickstarter campaign for its "Hawkeye" device may be rebooted, the company has now confirmed that the Kickstarter campaign is going to be canceled outright – in order to ensure that backers to the campaign get refunded. ZTE plans to use feedback gathered throughout the campaign to bolster the device's internal specs and make other changes.
Speaking to Engadget, Vice President of ZTE, Jeff Yee, stated that the main problems circulated around the company's misjudgment of what consumers wanted – namely that ZTE wanted to create a budget-friendly mid-range device with several unique, premium features. While backers were enthused about the "sticky-backed" hands-free design and eye tracking of Hawkeye, the majority of consumers were far less happy with a device that wasn't going to compete on the cutting edge with regards to other specs. Another, albeit less popular, point of contention existed on the software side. Many backers of the initial project wanted to see stock Android or something very close to it. Yee has said that the redesign will take those complaints into account and the device will use at least a "Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, if not a Snapdragon 835". There is no new campaign planned for Hawkeye as of now, which means that many of the feedback and request features that are a big part of crowdsourcing may be off of the table for now. However, the company did run a substantial number of polls before reaching its decision and, according to Yee, is confident that it can compile the feedback from the Project CSX and Kickstarter communities to create something that appeals to the majority of users.
The new ZTE goal to release a device much closer to the desires of those who voted for it – and to do it within the year – is possibly even more ambitious than the original project was. Nearly three months into the year doesn't leave much room for error during any of the processes required to create a flagship smartphone. It may even prove impossible. If the company does manage to pull it off, it will also almost undoubtedly come at a premium price-tag much closer to other flagship devices. That may provide some insight into why the company ultimately decided to cancel the campaign. However, what all of this shows is how committed the company is to the idea of delivering for fans and backers in spite of its initial misjudgment of those backers' needs and desires for the device. With determination like that, ZTE could very well bring Hawkeye up to par and into the hands of users within its intended time-frame.