ZTE finally puts its crowdsourced ideas to the vote

While companies will always talk about connecting with their customers, getting their feedback, and having open lines of communications, very few will actually get those involved in the design process of products. Such poses the risk of too many cooks ruining the broth. But last August, ZTE defied that commonly accepted business sense with Project CSX, short for "Crowd Sourced X", which asked the crowd what they want ZTE's next innovative product to be. After whittling those down to five, ZTE is now asking the very same crowd to vote for their favorite.

ZTE is admittedly taking a big business risk for the sake of making a name in the US market. Even if its next product would be the highest voted, that won't necessarily translate to commercial success. Especially on the Internet, the most vocal group doesn't always represent actual majority, much less the ones that will actually buy whatever product ZTE ends up making. Still, props to ZTE for being radical.

To be fair, ZTE did put some safeguards in its process to ensure that only the most feasible get chosen. Nonetheless, some of the top 5 finalists still ended up having some curious ideas. For example, there's a waterproof, VR diving mask that you can take to a pool and make it look like, at least from your perspective, you're in the ocean instead. There are also robo-gloves that, instead of controlling a smartphone is controlled by the smartphone instead. The gloves, apparently, will be used to teach users or in rehabilitation.

Then there are ideas that we've heard or seen already, in one form or another. A smartphone controlled via eye-tracking has actually been done before, but the self-adhesive rear is definitely an odd touch. Intelligent magnetic covers that offer more functionality to a smartphone sounds a lot like the recent Moto Mods.

It is, perhaps, most curious, that a "Stock Android Flagship Phone" actually made it to the final five. And yet, at the moment, it is also the most voted at 49%, with the eye-tracking phone not that far behind at 44% Voting lasts until October 19, and the winning product will be unveiled at CES 2017.