The crowd giveth and the crowd can taketh away.
Specifically, one online community gave Team One Technology’s idea of a phone designed for reading with an adhesive back and specially polarized screen to ZTE — that vote was part of the Project CSX competition it held within its Z-community. But that same community took away the oxygen for the phone’s (quasi-)crowdfunding effort, dissing its mid-range nature and lack of faith to the original design — an adhesive case took over from the intrinsic adhesiveness.
So, what is ZTE going to do now? It still intends to bring the idea to market, but not without major changes. In an interview with MobileSyrup, vice-president of technology planning and partnerships Jeff Yee made it clear that the company was making this phone called “Hawkeye” accessible to its community of over 170 countries.
“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,” Yee said.
To his point, India is such a country where the tech beehive is booming there, but the median income isn’t showing for it. As such, having people from a certain country contribute ideas to a phone they’ll never get to purchase is a practice in futile fantasy.
With fierce customer reaction, the company will likely reboot the flailing Kickstarter campaign — though, not because it needs the money.
“It doesn’t matter if the campaign is funded or not, it’s not like we’re a startup that’s going to go out of business without that funding,” Yee said.
The project has 19 days to go and only has $36,000 to its name of its $500,000 goal.
Yee then adds, “but by not hitting the campaign goal, that gives us an indication that it was just not the right specs that interest people and that’s the kind of feedback we need.”
As such, the company is currently polling people on an aspect that most needs upgrading — be it in the processor or software package. The company is fine-tuning its iris-based scrolling action, determining whether a voice or time prompt would work best for users to move between pages.
There’s hope that the adhesive case will be abandoned and that ZTE will take up research from what the original engineer from Team One Technology proposed for the Hawkeye’s case material. But it won’t be incorporated onto the phone itself.
“We were worried it could be too adhesive at the times you don’t want it to be, so we decided to make it a case,” Yee said. “And if you go back to the original design, there was a lot of interesting design elements on the back, so we’re including that on the case.”
That engineer has a PhD while another PhD holder is working on chemist. Two more people round out Team One that has invested their own dime beyond what they’ve needed to. While they were credited by the company to be brought to CES 2017, they say they’re on their way to MWC with tickets they bought themselves.