ZTE is building a new flagship-class phone unlike any other in its range, following a collaborative effort with its user community to crowdsource ideas for a device with the features that they actually want - not just those that the manufacturer thinks will appeal to buyers.
Known as Project CSX (Crowd Source X), ZTE has picked the winning device, and has promised to build it in 2017 - but while it will offer a wide range of high-end specs and distinctive features, what it currently lacks is a name.
"As a part of the next phase of Project CSX," ZTE said, "you have an opportunity to name the phone. What would you call it?"
Of course, this 'crowd-naming' approach does bring some risks. Earlier this year, Brits were invited to choose the name of a new £200 million ($250 million) polar research vessel - but in an online poll, they overwhelmingly voted for the name Boaty McBoatface. To the great disappointment of the British public, the UK's Science Minister intervened saying that there were "more suitable" names, and the vessel was instead named the RRS Sir David Attenborough, after the legendary BBC natural history broadcaster, although one of the ship's submarine support craft was ultimately named Boaty McBoatface.
Perhaps anticipating the possibility of 'Phoney McPhoneface' being the winner of the public vote, ZTE has said that it will select the winning name from among the top five submissions, adding that it "reserves the right to disqualify names".
Whatever it's called, the new handset is set to offer some intriguing features and top-notch specs, such as:
- 5.5-inch LCD with Quad HD (2560x1440px) resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 823 SoC, or similar
- 4GB / 6GB RAM
- 64GB / 128GB storage
- 16MP rear camera with HDR support, optical image stabilization, laser autofocus, dual-LED flash; 4K video recording at 30fps, and 720p video at 120fps
- 8MP front-facing camera with HDR support, optical image stabilization, autofocus and 1080p video
- 3500 to 4000mAh battery
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- USB Type-C port
- Android 7.0 Nougat
- 151 x 73 x 7mm
The device will either have a metal or polycarbonate body, but the exact specs have not been finalized. Indeed, the actual product may differ from the designs and details that formed part of the winning submission, created by a group known as Team One Technology. It said that the handset...
...with its multiple unique technologies open a new innovation era. User experience and usability would be much easier and fun than before. The eye tracking technology could be the next chapter of the productive mobile experience. Also, the split screen technology is a big leap toward great functionality and security.
Among its planned features are an 'eye-tracking system', with which "the user can scroll up and down without even tilting his head up and down". ZTE explained:
The Eye-Tracking phone is very innovative and the team did a terrific job explaining their idea, drafting the design and illustrating how a consumer would use the product. Using eye-tracking, users don't need to use finger gestures to scroll. But the team went beyond eye-tracking and thought of the complete user experience.
If it's hands-free, then the consumer should be able to position the device somewhere that he or she doesn't have to hold it. Thus, the team created the concept of a self-adhesive backing that allows the phone to be mounted to a wall or flat surface.
Further, if it's mounted on a surface that is susceptible to others that might look at the phone, the team solved the issue with a split screen technology that ensures that the owner of the phone sees the intended content - a great security feature.
The winner of the naming contest will get a $250 gift card (although it's not clear where exactly they'll be able to spend the gift card). You can submit your suggestions for the name here - and be sure to share your ideas with us in the comments below too.