NEW YORK -- Imaging was the big focus at HTC's 'Double Exposure' event today, as the company unveiled its selfie-friendly Desire Eye smartphone accompanied by Eye Experience imaging software that will run as well on existing HTC devices.
The Taiwan-based manufacturer also released its Zoe 1.0 collaboration tool for Android and iOS devices. That's right: HTC is launching one of its flagship services on Apple iPhones in the near future.
At the same invite-only event here, HTC announced the Re, a dedicated camera with minimal design and Android/iOS integration.
HTC Desire Eye
HTC's Desire line comes in various levels for different markets. The new top range Desire is the HTC Desire Eye, a smartphone with specs rivaling the HTC One M8 targeted at the mid-range smartphone buyer. A distinguishing feature that gives the device its rather unique name is the dual 13 megapixel cameras and dual LED flash modules.
The same camera is found on the front and the back of the HTC Desire Eye so you don't have to worry about which one to use to capture the photos you want. The front camera also comes with the new HTC Eye Experience -- detailed below -- so you can capture selfies.
The dual bold color high-end plastic design is quite compelling, especially as this design adds waterproof capability. It comes in coral reef (white/red) and blue lagoon (light and dark blue). Specifications of the HTC Desire Eye include:
Storage capability: 16GB internal and microSD expansion card
Cameras: 13 megapixel with dual LED on the front and back
Speakers: BoomSound stereo
Battery: 2,400 mAh
Compared to the HTC One M8, the Desire Eye is composed of high quality plastic material, has a physical camera shutter button, has better front and rear cameras, and does not have the Duo Camera module. Many may consider the HTC Desire Eye to be a better flagship than the One M8 -- with the major differentiator being the metal construction.
I spent a couple of days using an early version of the HTC Desire Eye -- see my image gallery of the device and some captured photos. I thoroughly enjoy using the HTC One M8, but loved the dual color plastic of the HTC Desire Eye and would definitely consider it. Pricing and availability have not yet been announced.
The HTC Desire EYE will be offered by AT&T exclusively at launch.
HTC Eye Experience
The HTC Desire Eye will come loaded with the full HTC Eye Experience, but most existing HTC devices will also get updated with this new imaging software suite. The HTC Eye Experience includes video chat face tracking, screen sharing video chat support, and a few selfie enhancements.
The selfie enhancements include the following:
Split Capture: Capture photos and videos with both the front and back cameras into one image or video so you can put yourself into the experience in front of you.
Crop-Me-In: Your face, captured with the front-facing camera, is embedded into the full image from the back camera. You can edit and then move and resize your image.
Voice Selfie: Capture a selfie by stating "say cheese" or "smile".
Photo Booth: Capture a series of selfies and then arrange in a square or row alignment.
Face Fusion: Mere your face with that of a friend or celebrity.
Live Makeup: HTC software smooths your skin and attempts to make you look younger in your selfie.
The selfie enhancements are obviously for fun and a couple of these would come in handy when you are traveling and want to share the experience with family and friends back home. The video conference/chat experience can be useful in certain business situations.
HTC EYE Experience will roll out to the following models (full feature list to be confirmed at roll-out): HTC One (M7), HTC One (M8), HTC One (E8), HTC One mini, HTC One mini 2, HTC One Remix, HTC One Max, HTC Desire 612, and HTC Desire 816 in the coming months.
HTC launched a beta version of their Zoe experience a couple of months ago and I have since used it on an HTC One M8, Moto X, and Samsung Galaxy S5. HTC is now taking the Zoe app out of beta and also launching later this year on iOS.
The Zoe 1.0 app will let you create and share video highlights developed from still photos and videos mixed with music and a theme. You can let others add to and enhance the Zoe video, as well as share it via a number of social networks.
Zoe 1.0 is a great way to share experiences and events with family and friends, much more exciting that simply sharing photos. The app has been greatly improved and I look forward to the growing Zoe community on iOS later this year.