HTC confirmed the release of its anticipated Desire Eye smartphone, as well as its RE handheld camera.

Desire Eye ups the camera ante by including a 13MP front-facing camera as well as a 13MP rear camera. It also has an “Intelligent dual-LED flash on both cameras”.

While a number of vendors have trumpeted devices’ selfie capabilities in recent months (such as Microsoft, Sony, Huawei and even HTC itself), the new device takes the title in terms of pure numbers.

Other features include a 5.2-inch full HD screen, 2.3GHz quadcore Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 16GB of onboard memory with microSD expansion slot, and LTE support. It also has a waterproof unibody design.

Features delivered by HTC’s Eye Experience software include face tracking for video calls, and a split capture feature, where images captured by the front and rear cameras are combined into one.

Also available is “crop me in”, which places users into an image or video captured using the front-facing camera, and voice control for selfies.

It will be available through “mobile operators and major retailers across EMEA, Asia and the US” from this month.

HTC REAgainst a backdrop of speculation about HTC’s plans to launch a digital camera, the company also unveiled RE, a periscope-shaped device which features a built-in grip sensor which sees it activated on pick-up, removing the need for a power button.

It has a single shutter button for one-tap image capture and a long-press starts video recording. It has a 16MP CMOS camera, 146 degree wide-angle lens, supports full HD video recording, and offers slow motion and time lapse recording.

While it does not feature its own viewfinder, images can be viewed from the screen of a smartphone, which can also be used to access content stored on the camera. Video and pictures will be uploaded to a smartphone or the cloud automatically.

In future, it will also support live streaming to YouTube.

“As a company we don’t stand still and our devotion to innovation has seen us take smart photography in a completely new direction for our business and our customers,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

Analyst Geoff Blaber at CCS Insight wasn’t so convinced. “HTC needs a standalone camera like BlackBerry needed the Playbook,” he tweeted. “Distraction to core business.”

RE will be available in the US from November, with other markets to follow. UK operator EE has also said it will offer the device, priced at £169.99 – comparing with £99 for the new, entry-level GoPro Hero.