HTC Zoe Comes To Google Play, Here's Everything You Need To Know
What is the HTC One's Ultrapixel camera mode, HTC Zoe? We explain and show off some Zoe videos
HTC Zoe is now available inside Google Play, meaning pretty soon you won’t have to use a HTC handset to tap in the company’s zoetrope-style imaging technology. Drew Bamford, head of the HTC Creative Labs, confirmed the news on Twitter, citing a report by Re/Code’s Ina Fried –– “Thanks to @inafried for breaking the news on HTC Creative Labs’ imminent release of #Zoe beta.”
The initial app will be a beta version of the Zoe suite found on the HTC One and HTC One M8 and, according to additional reporting, will be just one of many HTC-branded services coming to Google Play in the coming months.
“Zoe is expected to be the first in a series of HTC branded software releases for rival Android devices. In a bid to garner more interest, it looks likely that HTC will bestow its third-party Zoe service with far greater social integration than currently offered,” reports Trusted Reviews.
In case you have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about, here’s a break down of exactly what HTC Zoe is all about complete with some real life examples of it in action.
What Is HTC Zoe?
HTC Zoe is a shooting mode for the HTC One that's derived from the word, Zoetrope. Initially exclusive to the new HTC flagship, the technology was all about demonstrating the power of the HTC UltraPixel powered camera. Rather than try and explain what an HTC Zoe is though, we're going to start with the official line on HTC Zoe in the words of HTC itself.
"HTC Zoe gives people the ability to shoot high-res photos that come to life in three-second snippets. These Zoes, photos and videos are then displayed in a unique way that brings the gallery to life and transforms the traditional photo gallery of still images into a motion gallery of memories. These highlight videos can be remixed or set to different themes, and can be easily shared on social networks, email and other services."
Did you guys get that? If you did, well done. It was in a foreign language called marketing spiel, laden with fluff. Naturally, it being HTC, there's a lot of fantastic tech behind the blurb, so here's our nitty gritty translation of exactly what HTC Zoe is:
"HTC Zoe gives people the ability to shoot high-res photos that come to life in three-second snippets."
HTC Zoe is a shooting mode within your camera. It records 3.6 seconds of HD video and 20 photos, the latter shot at 6 frames per second. The video starts recording and the photos start shooting 0.6 seconds before your finger presses the shutter so you never miss a beat.
It in turn gives you a fuller capture of a moment than either a photo or video in isolation.
"These Zoes, photos and videos are then displayed in a unique way that brings the gallery to life and transforms the traditional photo gallery of still images into a motion gallery of memories"
The HTC Gallery app has been redesigned to take full advantage of Zoes and the additional elements they bring to capturing stills and videos. Gallery event entries appear as stills, then moving images, offering up a richer viewing experience than were Zoes or video not present.
Zoes appear in the same way as an album when previewed in the gallery, starting with a still, turning into a video. It's therefore easy to see which shot is a Zoe and which shot is a picture.
It also automatically creates integrated highlight films from each event comprised of Zoes, photos and videos set to music with professionally designed cuts, transitions and effects
"These highlight videos can be remixed or set to different themes, and can be easily shared on social networks, email and other services."
Not too dissimilar to BlackBerry's Story Maker, Zoe events are turned into clips called highlight films. These highlight films are montages which sequence images, videos and Zoes against a backdrop music and filters using one of six preset themes.
These can be exported as an MP4 file of around 12-40MB, uploaded to YouTube or sent to HTC's Zoe sharing service, creating a URL that lasts for 30 days. This can be shared to social networks and we believe uses HTML, so should be widely readable.
HTC Zoe: What's it like in real life?
We took the HTC One out for a spin to the British Museum in London the day we got our hands on it. Aside from the fact we got some pretty stellar pictures out of the camera phone which we'll be sure to upload into our full review, we also turned the outing around town into six highlight clips, and you know what? It was a piece of cake.
Taking the shots that made up the highlight clip involved little more than a point and shoot. Some were taken in Zoe mode, some as stills. As we mentioned above, HTC Zoes contain videos, videos that brought our Zoe Highlight clips to life.
To create the highlight clip, we just opened up our gallery, chose an event - defined by date. The first entry within the gallery event is the only full-width picture on show (illustrated below). It has a play button in the centre, suggesting it's a video.
It isn't though, it's a shortcut to create a Highlight Clip. Tapping on it pulls you through to a new menu that plays back your event to music, in sequence and with a filter. Pressing the bottom right button simply swaps out the theme and pressing shuffle rejigs your content order.
Once wrapped up, the results can be shared as a link to HTC's Share service. This is publicly available for thirty days, after which the Zoe Highlight Video dies and a few images remain at its URL where.
If you want more than thirty days out of your Zoe Highlight, do what we did; save the file as an MP4 and upload it to YouTube.
We've posted the examples of our Zoe highlights below. While there are six of them, they're only 30 seconds each, so kick back and enjoy London's finest relic repository from your smartphone, tablet, computer or whatever device you're using right now: