RED plans to launch its first smartphone in 2018. The company, which is best known for its high-end cameras for filmmakers, isn’t providing detailed specs yet, but the company promises that the upcoming RED Hydrogen One will have some rather unusual features.

For instance, it features a 5.7 inch “holographic display” that will let you view 3D or “holographic multi-view” content in landscape and portrait modes without wearing any special glasses. And the Hydrogen One will support modular accessories that extend the phone’s functionality over time.

But the phone won’t be cheap: It’s up for pre-order for $1,195 and up.

The entry-level price is for a model with an aluminum body. You can also pay $1,595 to reserve a titanium version. There’s no word on whether anything other than the case materials will differ between the two versions.

While RED isn’t spilling the beans on traditional phone specs like display resolution, processor, memory, or storage, here’s what the company does have to say about the Hydrogen One:

  • It’s an unlocked, multi-band phone that runs Android.
  • It supports 2D, 3D, 4-view holographic, and virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality content.
  • There’s an algorithm for converting stereo audio into 5.1 channel sound… that can play through regular headphones.
  • You can use the phone as a controller and monitor for RED Scarlet, Epic, and Weapon cameras.

That last bit is probably the true selling point for the camera. In case the price tag wasn’t a dead giveaway, it’s unlikely that RED expects this to be a mass market product. Instead it’s designed for the company’s existing customers, and maybe for some potential new ones.

That said, it seems like RED plans to offer some high-quality camera features on the phone itself. While we don’t know much about the built-in camera yet, RED says a “new high speed data bus” enables support for modular attachments “for shooting higher quality motion and still images,” among other things.

Oh, there are two traditional phone specs the company has confirmed: the RED Hydrogen One has a USB Type-C port and a microSD card slot. The single image released by RED also seems to show a headphone jack, and a multi-pin connector that looks a bit like the one you’d use to add accessories to a Moto Z phone… but with more pins.

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6 replies on “RED Hydrogen One smartphone coming in 2018 with modular features, “holographic display””

  1. As someone who is very interested in photography, and videography, this phone doesn’t even interest me in the slightest.

    1. The video monitor feature is complete horseshit. Only a very minuscule percentage of Red camera users own and use their own Red camera for personal use. At least 95% of them are owned by studios, production companies, but the vast majority of them are owned by rental agencies. The person operating them is just a camera person. NONE of these customers are going to own a smartphone to be used as a monitor. They are going to buy/rent Red’s dedicated 4.7″ display.

    It begs the question… who is going to own this phone? Is the director or producer going to lend his personal Red smartphone to the cameraperson to use as a monitor? Is the cameraperson going to invest in a Smartphone to replace a piece of hardware that his employer should be providing them? This is a pointless integration of a feature into a device that has no business having that feature. This would make sense for a company like GoPro, not Red. So this feature appeals to the small percentage of owner+user Red customers, and anyone who wants to pay huge amounts of money to look like a professional.

    2. They have entirely glossed over a feature that might be the only reason anyone would buy it, the accessories that would attach to the “new high speed data bus”. As a photo/video nerd, I would like to know what these are.

    3. They haven’t even given me anything that entices me as a photo/video nerd. What are the camera specs? Manual controls? Video output options (compression, raw, etc)? Do I have any options about lenses?

    The fact that they haven’t even bothered to try to attract any professional users tells me that they are trying to sell vanity and image, not function.

    1. I’m not sure your numbers add up. I’m not sure how studios and production companies can own 95% and rental companies can own a “vast majority”, say 60%+, unless there are many studios that are also rental companies.

      But maybe you’re missing the demographic being targeted. Maybe they want to sell to the wannabe star Youtuber, looking to up the quality of their vlog production. Maybe they want to sell to AR devs who want to have high-quality input and 3D output.

      You may have hit the nail on the head with the “vanity and image” thing. Apple has been stereotypically in this market, and with the rumors of the iPhone 8 being in the $1000 range, this might not be such a strange offer.

      1. I was completely making up those numbers. I was just saying that I really doubt that more than 5-10% of their cameras are owned by independent users.

        Of course they want to sell to the “wannabe star Youtuber”. That much is obvious.

        The product begs the question: “why does all this need to be integrated into a phone?” If they truly wanted to make a usable pro product, why not make a “baby Red camera”? Something along the lines of the Blackmagic Pocket.

    2. 1) calling something horse shit isn’t an argument. Especially when it has no grounds considering almost nobody has seen it personally yet.
      2) I own my REDs many others I work with own their RED because they can deliver the best for a fraction of the cost of other cinema companies.
      3) It’s totally possible for RED to sell to non cinematographers.
      4) Jim Jannard has delivered the impossible before. People thought the RED camera was a scam. But he proved them wrong and changed the industry.
      5) Strategic release is not the same as glossing over.
      6) you contradict yourself by first calling yourself a “very interested” photographer then assume RED haven’t attracted professional users because you are not interested. Unless you respresent all professionals as a very interested photographer?

      1. 1. I have no doubts as to how well it will work. I was saying it is a gimmick that is targeting a pro-feature to people who have no use for it. Very few owners of this phone will actually be Red user/operators.

        2. Wonderful

        3. I didn’t say anything to the contrary.

        4. Again, I didn’t say anything about that. You’re making up arguments against things I didn’t say.

        5. I don’t really know what you’re trying to say.

        6. That isn’t contradictory at all. I’m qualifying my interest in photography, and then stating that I’m not interested in the product. I wasn’t speaking for all professionals, I was only speaking to my own interest. Reading is hard, isn’t it?

  2. Can’t wait until we get holographs like from Star Wars… except supporting 3D Touch like in Iron Man.
    That’s when smart/super phones will become obsolete.

    People could have something like a FitBit band on, and hopefully with +24h battery life.
    And from the inner-wrist point it could shoot out a holograph to use for video watching, Apps etc… or hold unto your ear for phone calls. There would only be need for a good quality single camera, mounted at the inner wrist to take selfies/video calls. Taking photos/videos of what’s in front of you could be done by pointing your wrist at the target and pressing a button/touchscreen at the back side of the Band’s strap.

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