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Tech Retrospect: HTC unveils 'selfie' phone, pocket cam; Apple teases next affair

Can HTC capture buyers' attention with a "selfie" phone and action cam? Also, Apple's invitation to its latest event offers few hints. Plus, a new Tesla and all the latest tech in Tokyo in this look back at the week that was.


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The smartphone market is so crowded right now that it's getting more and more difficult to stand out. That's good news for we consumers, because it's forcing smartphone makers to try new and interesting things.

Take HTC, which this week launched two new products, one being the very selfie-focused Desire Eye . The "look at me doing whatever it is I'm doing right now" craze shows no sign of abating, and HTC is looking to take advantage by placing a 13-megapixel camera front-and-center, complete with a dual-LED flash to make sure your mug looks fabulous regardless of just how moody the lighting is.

Now Playing: Watch this: HTC Desire Eye ramps up the selfie cam: hands-on
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The Eye is also waterproof, something we hope will continue to become increasingly commonplace in the coming months, and has a 5.2-inch 1,080p display. Sadly, no word on pricing or availability anywhere, but given the plastic construction and generally midrange specs (only 16GB of storage), don't expect it to break the bank.

Now Playing: Watch this: HTC Re camera: hands-on with the weirdest waterproof...
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A little further out there on the progressive spectrum is the HTC Re, a sort of pocket-friendly, light-duty action cam that has a distinctive shape and nice features. Yes, it looks like an asthma inhaler from the future, no it doesn't look particularly well-suited for a helmet mount, but the Re is more designed for casual shooting than extreme antics. Take it out of your pocket and it turns itself on. Press the big shutter release on the back once to take a picture, hold it down to record video. It'll connect wirelessly to your phone, if you like, and records directly to microSD. It's waterproof to short depths and has a standard threaded receiver for using a variety of mounts. GoPro challenger? Not really, but a neat little product.

Apple will see us now, again

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Apple has invited reporters to an event on its campus on October 16. It's expected to unveil new iPads and Macs. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET

Hey, remember that big Apple event a month ago where we got two phones, a watch and Bono thrown at us? Get ready to do it again. Apple this week invited the media back to Cupertino, saying " it's been way too long." We gotta guess we'll be seeing final details on OS X Yosemite, plus new Macs. If we're lucky there'll be some iPads on display too. Wait and see, dear readers. You know we'll be bringing it to you live.

Tesla unveils the Model D

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Want yourself a Tesla Model S but want something with AWD for those inclement commutes? Tesla finally has you covered. The company this week introduced the Model D, adding a second motor to the front of the Model S. It'll now spin all four tires and accelerate to 60 in just 3.2 seconds. That's mighty quick by anyone's account.

Plastc challenges Coin to be your credit card aggregator

Carrying physical things around is so 20th century, and while Apple Pay and its ilk look set to teleport our credit cards into our smartphone, it's going to be the better part of a decade before we can truly leave our wallets at home. And that's if everything goes according to plan. Until then, there's a big business opportunity, and Plastc is looking to capitalize. With a touch surface, electronic-ink display, NFC, RFID, Chip and PIN, and, yes, a magnetic stripe on the back, Plastc looks far more comprehensive than Coin. It's also far more expensive at $155, but if it works -- and if it ships when it says it will (the third quarter of 2015) -- many wallet-averse consumers will likely find that price well worth it.

Robots and more at Tokyo's CEATEC

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Tokyo's biggest consumer electronics show, CEATEC, is a wrap. While there weren't any major product launches this year, we did see some very cool stuff. Elliptic Labs showed off some great gesture technology. Toshiba introduced a Google Glass competitor called (wait for it) Toshiba Glass. 16Lab introduced a new, Bluetooth gesture ring for mobile devices. Mazda demonstrated "adaptive" LED headlights that dim themselves, only where they need to. And, yes, a giant robot dinosaur. Sayonara from Japan, and have a great weekend.