ZTE preps gigabit phone for Mobile World Congress, but kills Hawkeye campaign


ZTE pulled the plug on its Hawkeye phone, but the company is preparing to showcase a new phone that will support speeds of 1 Gbps.

The Chinese vendor killed a Kickstarter campaign for the Hawkeye, which was also dubbed the Project CSX phone, after raising only $36,245—a small fraction of the $500,000 it hoped to raise. The phone was designed to have features that had been crowdsourced and approved by would-be users, but ZTE said it is rethinking its strategy.

“Project CSX has always been about going against the norm and trying something different,” ZTE wrote in a blog post on Kickstarter’s site. “Based on the feedback we’ve received on both Kickstarter and our own Z-Community forum, we’ve decided to phase out this campaign; however, this doesn’t mean the project is over. We are reevaluating the device for the winning Project CSX idea—an eye-tracking feature with self-adhesive backing—and it will be implemented based on your feedback.”

In a separate announcement, ZTE said it will use the upcoming Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, to trot out the ZTE Gigabit Phone. The handset will be one of the first to support gigabit LTE and will also offer 360-degree panoramic VR video and instant cloud storage, among other features, although LTE didn’t disclose many other details about the device.

ZTE’s next phone will be introduced as U.S. carriers race to achieve 1 Gbps speeds this year. AT&T recently said it expects to reach peak theoretical speeds of up to 1 Gbps “at some cell sites” this year, and Sprint CTO John Saw said his company expects to approach “1 Gbps class speed boundaries, on all our licensed spectrum” using 256 QAM, massive MIMO and three-channel carrier aggregation. Meanwhile, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray has vowed that his carrier “will absolutely be first to gigabit speeds.”