ZTE has officially canceled its Kickstarter crowd sourced fund raising campaign for the launch of its Project CSX phone, also known by its code name Hawkeye. The decision to cancel the campaign well before its planned ending was not unexpected as the company stated a few weeks ago it would “most likely” shut it down. It ended with $36,245 raised for the phone, well below the company’s goal of $500,000.

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How can Chinese companies offer great specs at such low prices?

How can Chinese companies offer great specs at such low prices?

February 4, 2017

ZTE started Project CSX as a way to get its fans to help them design a unique device. It held a contest in 2016 for people to submit concepts for new products, with the public voting for their favorite of the top five designs. The winning product idea was an Android smartphone that included eye-tracking technology and a self-adhesive case, so the phone could be used without actually touching the screen.

However, when the campaign actually began in early January, many people were not impressed by the hardware specs that were posted on the Kickstarter page. They included a 5.5-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Some fans felt the specs were too low for a phone that was scheduled for a launch in September 2017 for the price of $199.

In their update today announcing the Kickstarter campaign cancellation, ZTE said this was not going to be the end for Project CSX. It stated it is “reevaluating the device” and changes to the phone “will be implemented on based on your feedback.” That includes improving the hardware specs and also pushing back the date of its release, which the company said is “still being finalized”.

While this fund-raising campaign is over, ZTE says it will keep updating its Kickstarter Project CSX page to offer more information on their plans to revamp the phone. Since the campaign ended before the planned due date, anyone who did pledge money for Project CSX will not be charged, as per Kickstarter’s own rules.

It does seem pretty clear that the people who wanted to support this phone also wanted a higher-end device. They definitely did not want to support one that would be considered a low-to-mid range phone even now, much less in September when Hawkeye would have launched. Hopefully, ZTE will take a few lessons from this ill-fated campaign and come up with a new phone that will get more people interested in putting their money down to support it.

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.