HTC (Double Exposure event 001)

Wednesday, Taiwanese handset maker HTC at its ‘Double Exposure’ media event in New York City unveiled an iPhone-compatible waterproof Wi-Fi camera and the Desire Eye, a brand new handset with a 5.2-inch full HD (1,920-by-1,080 pixels) screen and BoomSound dual front-facing stereo speakers.

More than anything, however, the Desire Eye is aimed at improving the quality of users’ selfies by putting a powerful 13-megapixel sensor on both the front and back side.

That’s right, you get dual-color LED flash and wide angle lenses on each side. As a bonus, the Android-driven device is water and dust proof.

“This even is about imaging, but more importantly about reimagining HTC,” CEO Peter Chou said as he walked up the stage kicking off the conference.

“The smartphone, which HTC helped define, has emerged as this generation’s most influential piece of technology,” he then said before taking the wraps off the HTC Desire Eye with a little help from Jonah Becker, HTC’s Vice President of Industrial Design.

HTC Desire Eye (image 001)

Designed to give users “delightful ways” to create and share photos and videos, the device is big on cameras.

Unlike traditional smartphones (the iPhone included) that have powerful back shooters but subpar ones out the front, the Desire Eye makes no compromises: both sides of the device feature a 13-megapixel sensor with wide angle lenses and flash – that’s two flashes and two 13-megapixel sensors in a single device.

There’s also a dedicated camera shortcut button.

Featuring the unibody aluminum design reminiscent of the HTC One (M8), the phone takes advantage of Face Fusion software technology that originally launched as part of the Desire 820. In a nutshell, Face Fusion combines the photos of two people allowing you to blend their features.

Next, the new double cameras can be used to shoot both front and back images simultaneously. You can then later combine the two shots into a single side-by-side image for sharing on social media.

As if that wasn’t enough, the camera software makes it easy to crop out everything but yourself from the shot and overlay it on the image from the back.

HTC Desire Eye (teaser 001)

All told, the cameras are packed to the gills with other interesting features, such as Auto-Selfie, Split Capture, Face Tracking and more.

“With Auto-Selfie, your only focus is looking good,” Chou quipped. Auto-Selfie mode requires the phone to be held steady for a couple seconds. Voice commands (“Say Cheese”, “Action” and more) allow you to take a photo or start recording video using your voice.

Also cool: Face Tracking which can track up to four different faces during video chats and digitally zoom and crop them so that they’re positioned best on the display. Supporting apps like Skype and even allowing you to share your screen with others, this software feature should be quite handy for family and conference chats.

Check out the promotional video below.

The new camera software suite is called Eye Experience and it’s going to be available to current users with an automatic upgrade “within a month,” confirmed the firm.

HTC’s President of North Asia Jack Tong also confirmed the Nexus 9, the company’s new “commitment” to tablets. The Nexus 9 is due in Taiwan sometime by the end of 2014, with other markets following in the weeks and months ahead.

And here’s a hands-on video by SlashGear, which opined that the device’s “plentiful megapixels didn’t translate into a clear advantage in image quality”.

Hardware-wise, the Desire Eye runs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz quad core processor with 2GB of memory and includes a 2,400mAh battery.

There’s 16GB of storage, a microSD slot for up to 128GB memory cards, three microphones for background noise cancellation, a 3.5mm headphone jack, NFCm HSPA/LTE cellular networking, as well as Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n (2.4/5GHz) wireless technologies.

The HTC Desire Eye is dust proof and IPS7 water resistant, meaning you can submerge it in one meter of water for up to thirty minutes.

HTC Desire Eye (teaser 002)

But the company didn’t stop there.

Enter RE, a (pointless?) Wi-Fi camera shaped as a curved tube 96.7 mm tall and 26.5 mm in diameter. It has a custom 146 degree wide angle lens, a 16-megapixel sensor with image stabilization technology and features full HD video recording and automatic clip curation.

Best of all, the HTC RE is compatible with both Android and the iPhone via the new Zoe app, available for Android now and coming to iOS later this year.

HTC RE (image 001)

The water and dust proof wireless camera which resembles a little periscope basically lets you shoot photos and videos without a viewfinder and stream everything to a phone for viewing, editing and sharing.

Check it out in action.

“Along with regular stills and 1080/30p video, there’s support for 720p 4x slow-motion footage capture, and time-lapse video,” SlashGear opined in their HTC RE hands-on. “Audio capture gets a single HD microphone, and there’s a speaker built-in too”.

The HTC RE will go on sale in the US later this month, priced at around $199.99. It will be available in Teal, Orange, Navy Blue and White. If you’re interested, the while and orange models are available for pre-order now.

The new products couldn’t have come sooner: the Taiwanese firm has been seeing its profits and revenues eroding quarter after quarter after quarter amid strong competition on the high-end from Apple and Samsung and on the low-end from Chinese makers that produce inexpensive yet powerful handsets.

You can stream HTC’s media event in its entirety on YouTube.

What do you think of these new HTC products?

  • Lemerio P.

    I was always a fan of htc’s blink feed on the lock screen. Been waiting on a jailbreak developer to bring this tweak to iPhone.

  • Jonathan

    Does the top video remind anyone of an iPhone 5c commercial?

    • im2slick4u

      For sure

    • Heck the Phone itself is a combination of the 5c and 5c. The slap in the face is the fact they used EYE in the name.

  • LAGISSUEZ

    Samsung will have the dual cameras in their next phone. iPhone will get it 3 cycles from now.

    • R4

      Dual cameras? In 3 cycles? What have you been smoking?

      • LAGISSUEZ

        It’s pretty easy to read the time frame Apple applies to their phones. It took how long before they went to a screen larger than the 4″? Or gain quick reply? Or NFC? All of which are features that first came out for android (without jb).

        Apple does not want to look like they copied anyone so they “take their time”, refine it and call it their own. No smoke bro, just history.

      • @dongiuj

        Yeah, tell him how it is bro.

      • Shadowelite123

        Bro you’re out of your mind. NFC was implemented in the iPhone because Apple was losing market share in China due to lack of NFC. The larger screen makes no sense to me since every S iPhone is just hardware and software upgrades which so every numerical upgrade is a design change. Apple bumped up the screen size 2 years ago with the iPhone 5. This year it was the 6. If they bump it up again, it will be the 7. Quick reply is not on android so get your facts straight. I use android and I’ve never been able to reply to my notifications properly without it taking me to the app and making me deal with the notification there. They take their time because they want to provide the best user experience for consumers. iOS is proof as its the fastest mobile operating system at the moment and the iPhone 6 is the fastest smartphone in regards to benchmarks and speed tests based on actual usage. So before you go and make up nonsense, please gather adequate proof for what you’re talking about and make valid points according to “history”.

      • LAGISSUEZ

        Wtf are you talking about?

      • LAGISSUEZ

        Okay, I don’t know what droid phone you’ve been using but quick reply has been around for a LONG time.

        China didn’t even get the iPhone with their largest carrier China mobile until just this year so a lack of NFC was DEFINITELY not the reason Apple was losing market share.

        And what don’t you get about them making a larger screen? Android has caught up to Apple faster because of this difference than any other reason.

        You shouldn’t talk because everything you said was bull****

      • Shadowelite123

        Actually it was all fact and observation with a side of real life experience. Everytime I tap a notification, (I use an S3) it always takes me to the app to deal with the notification. Same with my friends S5, my ZTE Overture, oh lets see and every other android user I know. NFC is wildly used in china for payments and NFC readers which was a big reason for china to use phone with NFC. Apple didn’t see the need to add NFC till this whole thing with china. About the larger screen, we waited 1 iPhone redesign for a larger screen. If tomorrow the current sizes for phones increases to 6 inches minimum, Apple would release a bigger screen of around that size in 2 years because the 6S would only be internal upgrades and NOT physical design changes. Its not difficult to comprehend so I have no idea why you’re having so much trouble.

      • Shadowelite123

        Oh and if you’re so sure quick reply has been a part of android for years, post a screenshot of you replying to a text message from an app that’s not the messages app or simply the home screen. If you can supply evidence of your claim, then ill admit im wrong just as long as your claim is PROVEN true.

      • LAGISSUEZ

        Dude I don’t own a droid, just ****ing google it. And they still don’t give a **** about NFC in china because they’re using their proprietary apple pay system which will only work in china if Chinese businesses agree to jump on board. Just shut the **** up about your stupid China/NFC argument already. It’s like the only thing you’re clinging to and it’s annoying as hell.

        And Steve Jobs said he never wanted to make a phone that you couldn’t use one handed. Well guess what, Steve ain’t around anymore and so guess what we’re getting? Bigger phones. Why? Because people want them and the evidence has been no more evident then in the sales of android phones. If large droid phones were not selling well I guarantee the iPhone 6 would have a 4″ screen.

        Anyway, I’m tired of arguing with you, have a good day.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        Omg you are desperate

    • diggitydang

      I love how you sound like a total SamFan, and you proudly announce that Samsung will rip off yet another feature of a different phone… I just wish Samsung would do their own $hit instead of copying everyone all the time!!!

      Kudos to HTC for thinking outside the box…

      • LAGISSUEZ

        Hmm, okay well you completely misread my statement then cause I don’t own any Samsung products and I own everything Apple.

        That’s okay though. I’ll let you cruise with your assumptions.

      • @dongiuj

        You’re absolutely right to say “I’ll let you cruise with your assumptions”. That’s never going to change with those type of people.

      • Shadowelite123

        Hey aren’t you that fanboy I encountered before? Lol there you go agreeing with anything against Apple. Bro honestly you look desperate to make a movement here on this APPLE RELATED blog with you constant negativity and hate on Apple. Plus this guy doesn’t even know what he’s talking about because “according to history” Apple has been doing just fine and “according to history” Apple has never made and physical design changes such as size or form with their S upgrade models. So basically his whole rant about Apple being slow with larger screens, NFC, and the lie about quick reply is completely gone.

      • @dongiuj

        “Fanboy”? Well, if you have encountered me before AND if you have read ALL my comments then you will see that I am definitely not a fanboy of any tech company unlike some sad individuals. So, NO, you’re wrong. Also, on that point, you have just proven his point about people assuming things all the time, congratulations.

      • s0me

        It is pointless to argue with these “fanboys” who defend Apple like its their own company.

      • @dongiuj

        I know. I don’t know why they start getting so mad and persistently feel the need to bring samsung into any random conversation plus persistently making assumptions and presumptions. It’s not big, not clever and is just plain weird.

      • Smh

        Is that really how you intepreted that comment? You must be insanely retxrded. Seek professional help. That’s a high level of stupidity you just exhibited.

    • Shakur Ali

      iPhone 6 plus best phone u know that

  • Lemerio P.

    I’m not a fan of the thick black outline that surrounds the screen. But the front facing camera seems like one of the best features

  • Ariel

    A phone with good selfie camera is useful, while a bit ironic. The RE is nicely designed, while utterly pointless. It also doesn’t seem to have any form of focus (similarly to sport cameras), making it useless for artistic shots too.

  • Eni

    Love that phone, it looks beautiful, accept the front facing camera looks a little creepy. but i adore the phone
    P.s. any idea how much its going to cost?

  • Alberto M.

    How is this phone “iPhone-compatible”? did you mean to say competitor?

    • coLin

      He probably meant that the RE camera is compatible with the iPhone

  • im2slick4u

    To be honest the Re’s quality SUCKS for a 2014 $200 dedicated camera. I would rather buy a Go Pro Hero 4, or even throw in a good $700-1000 for a nice DSLR then wasting $200 on an extra device to carry around that an iPhone 4 can take better pictures/video then.

  • mrgerbik

    nice! now everyone can see my cock ‘n balls in ultra-hi res!

    • Steve R.

      I would hope not “everyone” lol

  • rockdude094

    The phone looks terrible compared to htc one. Can we have that design back with improved internals ?

    • Shadowelite123

      Honestly I like it but what bothers me is the flash. Its too noticeable. A more rounded one would be better

  • Soto

    I’m waiting for what the Nexus 9 will bring to the table, my iPad needs to go.

  • 323K137

    looks like the flashy thing from Men In Black lol

  • Sean Cua

    HTC Desire Eye for Windows please.

  • Taf Khan

    Desire Eye?? In 2015 we might see the HTC Lube.. stop naming phones after Condoms HTC!