HTC spins off a software company for Android apps

Credit: HTC

HTC is looking to bring its software to rival phones and tablets as the company struggles to turn its hardware business around.

Recode reports that HTC has set up a separate business unit, called HTC Creative Labs, to handle Android app development. Its first release will be a beta version of Zoe, a short-form video tool that had been exclusive to HTC handsets.

On the company’s phones like the HTC One (M8), the Zoe camera mode snaps photos and takes video at the same time, and then lets users remix those clips into 30-second multimedia collages with music. HTC had originally planned to release a separate Zoe app to let other users remix their friends’ clips, but has yet do so.

According to Recode, HTC now wants to expand Zoe further than the company first intended. Users of the Zoe app will be able to record their own clips—even on non-HTC phones—and remix their friends’ recordings. The Zoe app will then serve as a hub for viewing and sharing the collages.

HTC also plans to release other apps, but didn’t provide any details. It’s worth nothing that the company never followed through on a promise to release its Blinkfeed news widget for other Android phones, as it said it would last March.

The move into software raises some questions that HTC hasn’t answered. With Zoe, it’s unclear how HTC will get people to care about yet another social video app—especially one that doesn’t appear to have iOS support in the works. HTC also told Recode that it hasn’t figured out how to make money from the effort. For a company that has seen its revenues slump over the last couple years, and has failed to turn a profit in two of the last four quarters, it’ll need plenty of patience to see this software spin-off through.

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