ZTE Plans to Crowdsource Ideas for its Next Smartphone Through Project CSX

ZTE Plans to Crowdsource Ideas for its Next Smartphone Through Project CSX

Smartphones these days aim to provide a complete package to the end consumer: companies pick a price point and then roll with the best combination of features and specs to please their target audience. In the case of flagships, the price point is usually decided after the best-of-the-best features are selected.

Either case, the smartphones so designed have been designed with what the company thinks and believes the target audience wants. But does the target audience really want that?

Sales are an important indicator of showing what the target audience wants. That’s simple economics: consumers purchase goods to satisfy their demands. But as smartphones have evolved to become complex pieces of technology that perform variable functions, and as consumer needs and demands have evolved to bear different expectations from the same piece of smartphone, it becomes difficult to build a smartphone that has large elements of what a large part of the audience actually wants. Does the average smartphone actually satisfy the average consumer, or do consumers settle for the next best fit?

ZTE plans to change that. Instead of having smartphones designed based on what they think the consumer wants, they are going ahead and asking the consumer what they want. This is what ZTE’s Project CSX is all about.

Announced back in CES 2016, Project CSX aims to build a smartphone that is based on crowdfunded ideas and community participation. ZTE is inviting members of its Z-Community forums to submit ideas and then vote on these ideas based on what they would like to see in the next smartphone that ZTE builds. The community members tell ZTE what to build, and the company promises to build what the community wants. Participating in this idea-crowdfunding process will also give you a chance to win some prizes from ZTE. Participants registered on Z-Community are also being promised early access to the final product.

There are some rules to it though, and the three basic ones are as follows:

  • It must be a mobile product
  • It must be technically possible by 2017
  • It must be affordable for the general population

The mission here is to build a great product that anyone can use. It shouldn’t appease to the needs of just a select few.

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You can read more about the timeline and prizes over here. To participate in the crowd-funding process, head on over to the Project CSX site. You do need to sign-up as a member to participate in the discussion board.


ZTE is certainly trying out something new with Project CSX, and for that, we applaud them. Asking consumers what they want, and then promising them execution on the same is a big step. Your purchase decision is still dependent on the final product and how it pans out to cater to the average consumer. So having a choice that is a real choice that most would go for is certainly a good thing for the mobile industry. At the very least, it would bring to light what consumers would want in a smartphone, and whether a smartphone built on popular needs would sell enough to prompt other OEMs to follow along the same path.

What are your thoughts on Project CSX? Would you purchase a crowd-sourced smartphone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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