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At its Double Exposure event in New York, HTC unveiled two new devices with a focus on photography: the RE Camera and the Desire Eye smartphone, which boasts a 13-megapixel front-facing camera. Both are devices we’d heard about through leaks days or weeks before the event, but they’re still pretty interesting to hear about today.

recamerabluePriced at $199.99, the RE Camera boasts a rear shutter button, a front-placed slo-mo video button, and a 146° wide angle lens that’s capable of taking 16 megapixel photographs and 1080p high definition videos. Shaped like a teeny tiny periscope, the RE Camera can sync with Android and IOS devices, and it’s clearly being marketed as an alternative to GoPro.

Images and videos are beamed to users’ smartphones or whatever other devices they’ve got synced to the RE Camera, which eliminates the need for a viewfinder. Its wide angle lens similarly helps guarantee that you’ll get something useable somewhere in your shot, though I’m not entirely sure how well that’ll work out in practice. Even still, the RE Camera might find an audience looking for an easy-to-use and versatile camera for whatever device they’re using. It’s available for pre-order directly from HTC right here.

As for the Desire Eye smartphone, the big selling point here is the powerful front- and rear-facing camera, which both clock in at 13 megapixels, with flashes, and is clearly geared towards perfecting that most loathsome artifact of the 21st century, the selfie. While HTC has yet to post the full specifications of the handset just now, a post on 9to5Google has more details: it’s got a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon CPU, 2 GB of RAM, boasts IPS7 water resistance, allowing users to take it into up to one meter of water for 30 minutes.

desire-eyeHardware’s one thing, but HTC is also making a big thing out of the software it’s putting into the Desire Eye. Called the Eye Experience, the new photography software can detect when you want to take a shot of yourself. “Simply raise your phone, smile, and snap a picture or shoot a video by using your voice,” says the site. The Eye Experience will also apparently improve video chat with the assistance of Face Tracking, and is compatible with Skype and Google Hangouts, among others. Eye Experience will additionally give users the ability to simultaneously capture photos and videos using the front and rear cameras at once – and that’s actually pretty cool.

There are a few other bells and whistles, but the main thrust here is that the Desire Eye is going to be the showcase for this new software that HTC plans on rolling out to a number of its other smartphones – particularly the HTC One M8 and E8 as well as the previous version of the One, the One Mini, and the One Mini 2.

No word just yet on when the Desire Eye will be available, nor when Eye Experience will roll out to HTC handsets. But chances seem good they’ll all be available in time for the holidays. Did HTC make a big splash today? Will these announcements help it put it back into contention against behemoths like Apple and Samsung? With its forthcoming (and unofficially confirmed today) Nexus 9 tablet, things are looking pretty good for HTC right about now.

[Sources: HTC RE Camera, Eye Experience, 9to5Google]

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