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ZTE's Eye-Tracking Phone Just Hit a Wall

After months of input from fans and amateur engineers, ZTE unveiled its wall-mountable eye-tracking crowd-sourced Hawkeye phone at CES 2017. But so far, the project has been met with tepid enthusiasm by backers, largely because of the phone's specs. So now ZTE is putting the Hawkeye project on hold while its addresses user feedback about the phone.

The main problem with Hawkeye wasn’t its price: Backers could nab the phone for $199. And its feature set, which included the ability to use eye movements to handle tasks like scrolling and an adhesive back for sticking the phone to any surface, impressed as well.

ZTE's Hawkeye Phone (Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: ZTE's Hawkeye Phone (Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide))

Instead, users were put off by the Hawkeye's specs, which included a 2GHz Snapdragon 625 processor. That's a pretty midrange CPU, and ZTE tells us that overwhelming feedback indicated that potential buyers were looking for a flagship processor.

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So after reaching just $36,000 of its $500,000 goal, ZTE said today (Feb. 17) that it's putting the Kickstarter project on hold while it figures out how to fit a chip with significantly more oomph into Project Hawkeye. ZTE says existing pledged will be voided and the pledge amount will be refunded to backers.

Because of the changes expected for the phone, Hawkeye’s ship date will likely need to be pushed back. ZTE had hoped to deliver Hawkeye before the end of the year, but this new delay could put that goal in jeopardy. ZTE says there's no exact timetable for when a revamped Project Hawkeye will be available for purchase.