HTC tries something new: Zoe and other apps will become available for all Android devices

August 12, 2014
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HTC is trying something new. After two years of struggling to turn around its smartphone business, the Taiwanese company is now looking at software and services as a potential growth area.

As part of the new strategy, HTC will make some of its apps and services available to devices from other manufacturers, starting with Zoe, the slideshow app that launched with the One (M7) last year. Later this week, reports Recode’s Ina Fried, users of devices from Samsung, LG, and other OEMs will be able to install Zoe. There will be some limitations – only high-end, updated devices will be compatible, and the app will be released as beta, with limited functionality.

Zoe lets you select up to 16 images or clips, add a soundtrack, and turn them into a video that you can share with friends. But HTC wants Zoe to be more than a photo-video editing app – the company hopes to turn it into a platform, which will put it on a collision course with Vine, Instagram, and other heavy weights.

Regardless, HTC is ambitious about its new- fangled software initiative and plans to partner with music and sports celebs for its promotion, according to Recode.

HTC’s software group is called Creative Labs and is headed by Drew Bamford, who’s also responsible for Sense and the UI of other HTC products. About 260 people in the US and Taiwan are working under Bamford, who was promoted chief of software and services at HTC back in April.

Other software projects are reportedly in the pipeline, but HTC decline to elaborate.

Interestingly, when asked about the balance between developing for Sense and software that will be made available to other devices, Bamford said that the hard work is over when it comes to HTC’s overlay: “Android doesn’t need as much fixing anymore, to be honest.”

In what could be a preparatory move, HTC began to put its proprietary apps in the Play Store earlier this year. Besides Zoe, these include BlinkFeed, Gallery, Clock, and Sense TV.

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