Smartphone manufacturer HTC has introduced a new handset designed to take better selfies than any other device.
At an event in New York, the technology firm unveiled the Desire EYE, a smartphone that contains a 13 megapixel front-facing camera, surpassing the specification of the same camera on Apple and Samsung’s current devices.
Peter Chou, HTC’s CEO, said: “HTC is once again changing the way that people think about technology.
“Back in 1997, we allowed people to leave their laptops at home in favour of powerful, pocket-sized smartphone computing. We are taking a similar leap forward. Combining incredible hardware with unrivalled software, HTC is reinventing the way we think about imaging. We are taking you out from behind the viewfinder and putting you back where you belong, at the heart of the action.”
As well as the new Desire EYE, HTC also announced a new handheld camera called the RE, which automatically turns on when it is picked up.
The RE is being marketed as an everyday alternative to professional action cameras like the GoPro.
Head of HTC America Jason MacKenzie said: “It’s made for spontaneity and simplicity. It also comes waterproof right out of the box.”
HTC confirmed that the RE will use a dedicated RE app to create a new ecosystem between devices for images and video, as well as linking the camera to your smartphone for live streaming.
A new app called Zoe was also introduced. It will enable users to edit and mix photo and videos to create projects and then share them with others via the app’s own social network, as well as come together with other users who have media from the same event to create a single video.
Finally, EYE Experience was introduced. It is the new native software for HTC phones that adds a host of new features to the front and rear-facing cameras. These include the ability to combine images or video from both cameras in a feature called Split Capture.
“This is just the beginning of reimagining HTC”, said Mr Chou.
HTC is currently battling to compete with the likes of the iPhone 6 and Samsung’s range of Galaxy devices for position in the smartphone market. The company reported profits of 75 million US dollars but is still some way behind their rivals in terms of sales.
The new Desire EYE has a 5.2 inch full HD screen, and the new HTC Eye front-facing camera comes with face-tracking technology and Voice Selfie mode, which will take a selfie when you say “say cheese”. This technology all applies to video recording, with the command of “action” or “rolling” automatically starting filming. It will also form part of the EYE Experience software.
HTC’s Jonah Becker said: “This is a phone that truly delivers on all fronts.”
The focus on photography with these new products looks like placing HTC at a slightly different angle within the smartphone and consumer technology market. The RE camera has a 16 megapixel camera as well as the ability to record video in full HD 1080p.
The handheld device will likely compete with the popular GoPro camera, which has been used to record thousands of videos that have been posted to video sharing sites like YouTube. Indeed the EYE includes real-time video streaming to the Google-owned site.
According to research from earlier this year, 33% of Britons post a selfie at least twice a week, with more than 17 million uploaded to social media every week. Prime Minister David Cameron, US president Barack Obama and both Prince Charles and Prince William have been spotted in selfies in the past.
HTC will be looking to increase these numbers with the Desire EYE. The new smartphone and RE camera will be available from early November, the company confirmed.