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ZTE shuts down fan-backed phone on Kickstarter

One day before its funding deadline, ZTE puts the brakes on its Hawkeye phone campaign.


ZTE closes down its Kickstarter campaign for the Hawkeye phone.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

One day shy of its funding deadline, Chinese phone maker ZTE has pulled the plug on its Hawkeye phone for now. Originally called "Project CSX," the phone was supposed to have features that were crowdsourced and approved by ZTE's fan community.

Citing feedback from users who were disappointed about the Hawkeye's midrange specs, ZTE halted the campaign on Kickstarter. That does not mean the project is over, however, as the company plans to regroup and figure out how it will release the device with more premium specs.

At the time of the closure, the project received a bit more than $35,800 in funding. This is way less than the $500,000 needed to reach its goal before February 18, so it's likely the project wouldn't have succeeded anyway. As per Kickstarter rules, the 180 backers will receive their full pledge money back.

ZTE says the phone it ends up releasing will retain the two winning ideas that fans wanted for the Hawkeye. This included eye-tracking software and a self-adhesive backing that'll allow the phone to stick to flat surfaces. The company also conducted an online poll to see what people wanted to change about the Hawkeye. Forty-seven percent said they wanted to swap out the Snapdragon 625 processor for the 835. Some also wanted stock Android as the OS.

Since its announcement at CES 2016 and its official project launch in August 2016, Hawkeye has become a labor of love for ZTE. At this point, ZTE is unlikely to pull off this phone by September 2017 (its original deadline goal). Some also predicted the project's demise -- as one backer commented earlier this month, "Stick a fork in this campaign, it's done!"