Back in November, ZTE announced that it would be crowd-sourcing a new flagship phone, only known as Project CSX. At CES 2017, the firm said that the people had spoken, and it would be called Hawkeye; it could be yours for just $199 if you backed it on Kickstarter.
Two weeks later, ZTE announced Hawkeye's specs, which ended up being decidedly mid-range. Needless to say, it hasn't gone well since.
The crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter is up to $35,249 with 184 backers, and is far short of its goal of $500,000. The comments on the page aren't pretty either, with many disappointed at the specs, and others upset that the company had ditched the unique design that it had showed off when it first unveiled CSX.
Today, ZTE acknowledged that it made some mistakes along this journey, and the company apologized:
During the concept phase of Project CSX, there were many submissions for flagship phones with detailed specs such as using the next Snapdragon processor or using Stock Android. These all received high votes, but when the Eye-Tracking, Sticky phone went on to win Project CSX, we lost sight of what many of you submitted and voted upon as competing submissions. We wanted the Project CSX phone (with the hands-free feature) to reach the masses around the world, which meant mid-range specs for a mid-range price that most users could afford. Note that this was entirely within the spirit of this project - we thought that we would be delivering the great concept that all of you voted on to as many people as possible.
After posting the project on Kickstarter and then releasing the detailed specifications of Hawkeye, we realize that our decision to introduce the CSX hands-free features on a mid-range device may not have met the expectations of those that backed this project and those that are early adopters and discovering Project CSX through Kickstarter. It was our mistake.
Now, there's a poll online where customers can vote on one thing that they would change about Hawkeye. The options are to swap the mid-range Snapdragon 625 for Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 835, change the 3000mAh battery for one with 3500mAh, change the OS to stock Android, or something else, which you can add in the comments.
As ZTE notes in its apology, specs can change, but the introductory price can't. Because of the low $199 price point that it has promised, it's going to be tough to throw in all of the bells and whistles that are expected from a modern flagship phone.