HTC débuts Desire Eye, 'GoPro-slapper' RE digital snapper

No cash, please, we're HTC, says debt-free mobile firm

HTC doesn’t reckon it needs any funding next year or even the one after that, according to its chief financial officer, who spoke at the launch of HTC's Desire Eye, a new Android phone with a 13MP camera for "selfies".

Chialin Chang told Reuters that the Taiwanese firm has no debt, $1.7bn in cash and isn’t worried about tapping capital markets in 2015 or beyond, despite poor smartphone sales.

“I don’t think we need to worry about it at all,” he said. "We’re not going to the capital markets for funding. We can self-fund ourselves [sic] very sufficiently.”

Chang was speaking on the sidelines of the firm’s launch of its latest smartphone and a miniature camera that it hopes will rival GoPro’s line. The RE is a tiny, waterproof, wide-angled digital camera that can take photos and shoot video, with just two button controls on it.

A sensor on the camera automatically turns it on when it’s picked up and an app on phones and tablets allows users to play the footage back later. The idea is that folks can record stuff they’re seeing without obsessively looking at the screen – great for concerts and the like that people now tend to only enjoy through the medium of their smartphone screen.

It can also be clipped onto things and used underwater, so it can work in sport situations, where GoPro has made such a strong name for itself. However, Chang said that the RE was not aimed at extreme sports enthusiasts, but everyday use.

At the same event in New York, HTC also premièred the Desire Eye, a new Android phone. Although the company has fallen behind its rivals in smartphone sales, Chang said that it now has a strong portfolio for both developed and emerging markets.

"I think with a more robust portfolio we're going to be able to show that we can grow again," he said. "Hopefully people will feel in the next earnings call with the guidance, we can get the momentum back."

Chang wouldn’t say whether some of that growth would come from the Nexus 9 tablet HTC is rumoured to be making. Reports suggest that Google has tapped the Taiwanese firm to make its next tablet, which will be a 9-inch version of its popular Nexus line, but Chang refused to comment on the reports. ®

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