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HTC announces the RE, a new screenless camera set to take on GoPro

HTC has announced a new waterproof, wide-angled digital camera, the RE, which it hopes will threaten the dominance of GoPro's camera range.

The RE features a cylindrical design and just two buttons, alongside a sensor that automatically turns on the device when it is picked up.

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The camera does not possess a screen of its own, leaving users the option of recording to a SD memory card, streaming to a live YouTube channel, or sending footage wirelessly to a smartphone app.

HTC's chief executive Peter Chou believes that the RE can change the face of mobile technology by letting the user watch events directly as well as record them.

"We are taking you out from behind the viewfinder and putting you back where you belong, at the heart of the action," he said.

In terms of specs, the RE boasts a 16MP camera capable of filming 1080p video at normal speed and 720p in slow motion, but industry experts still believe it compares unfavourably to GoPro devices.

Speaking to the BBC, Francisco Jeronimo from IDC said that the unconventional design of the RE meant that is was unlikely to challenge GoPro as the established brand in this sector.

The RE is waterproof to a depth of 1m for up to half an hour, or 3m for two hours when an external case is attached.

For comparison purposes, the recently announced GoPro Hero also records in 1080p, features waterproofing to 40m and retails for £100.

While analysts have been more positive regarding HTC's new Desire Eye smartphone and its industry-leading 13MP camera, they remain largely unconvinced by the RE.

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"The digital camera sector is crowded and very tough to get into," Roberta Cozza of Gartner said. "I fail to grasp the convenience of it, and I think HTC could have done a better job with the design."