So, the big HTC event came and went. We got a new smartphone, and something that looks like a military anglehead flashlight. Actually, the HTC RE is the promised GoPro killer that is dead in the water before it even launches.

I thought HTC had a solid design team? They can’t be serious with this as the next big action camera. Maybe this is for snorkelers to give them a periscope. It is waterproof, though it looks like you could break it pretty easily. So, this is the promised action cam. Can you clip it to your helmet? Maybe. But, you’d look like an idiot.

As for features? It doesn’t really have any. There is no viewfinder, which isn’t too uncommon with action cams. They normally compensate with laser pointers to line up a shot. GPS? Nope. The head doesn’t swivel for smooth panoramic shots, which would have made the camera a little interesting. Instead, you can clip it on your chest. Seriously, put a light in it and give me a red filter. Tactical action cam.

So, if it’s not an action cam, is it at least a decent point and shoot? Well, it lacks a viewfinder. Strike one. There’s no optical image stabilization that most smartphones have built-in. Strike two. It’s $200 for something you can have with the latest smartphone. Unless you are an obsessive with having the latest thing, no matter how unnecessary, that’s strike three.

That’s not to say it’s all bad with the RE. There are some features that other companies could copy. The wifi broadcasting to YouTube is a nice one that Android and iOS could pick up on. And that’s about all I got.

HTC is a struggling company, and this throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks isn’t a good play. Focus on fantastic smartphones and tablets. Or hell, make a damn watch.

The company’s action cam? The only action it will be getting is recording the sound of crickets on the sales floor. GoPro can sleep soundly knowing that no one will be barging in on their niche for the time being.

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