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ZTE may kill 'Hawkeye' Kickstarter, do a new version with better specs

ZTE has said it will either bump a couple of specs on its Hawkeye device or take down the Kickstarter and replace it with a new, more beefed-up version.

Published onJanuary 28, 2017


ZTE has already admitted that the specs of its crowd-sourced phone weren’t sufficient to draw real interest. The company now says it will “most likely” kill the current Kickstarter campaign but is considering bumping one or more of the specs to see if that is enough to generate real interest.

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In an interview with Mobile Syrup, Jeff Yee, ZTE’s vp of technology planning and partnerships, said that the company’s original plan was to make the price point as appealing as possible, and that meant mid-range specs:

So when the phone became hands-free with the two key features becoming eye-tracking and adhesive we thought: there’s 170 countries represented by people that have voted […] let’s make it a phone that can go around the world. That means mid-range because you can’t sell flagships in a lot of countries, they just don’t have the money.

But the lukewarm response to the Kickstarter campaign demonstrated folks were expecting better specs than they found. Yee said ZTE then realized that “Kickstarter people are early adopters therefore they want flagship specs”.

Fortunately, the company has the luxury of either changing some key specs in the existing Kickstarter – while retaining the current $199 price tag – or pulling it down, beefing up a lot of the Hawkeye specs and posting a new Kickstarter campaign with a new price tag.

For now though, the changes to be made are uncertain, as Yee notes “so many people are giving free-form comments that it’s a little bit difficult to digest what exactly people want.” Fortunately, the company also has the luxury of time. Yee said, “we’re doing everything with transparency and so early in the process that we can still change and shift.”

The interview goes on to cover how ZTE’s eye-tracking tech works and the adhesive case for the Hawkeye phone, so feel free to hit the source link for the full transcript.

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