Cinematic camera company RED plans to launch its first smartphone early next year, and the RED Hydrogen One is expected to stand out in a few ways. It has an unusual design that uses metal and Kevlar and ridged edges that make the phone easy to grip. It also supports modular add-ons such as camera lenses, offering DSLR-style features in a smartphone.

But the phone has another unique feature that RED refers to as a “holographic” display. The company hasn’t had much to say about that screen technology, but now RED has revealed that the screen comes from a partnership with Leia Inc, a company developing “lightfield holographic display solutions for mobile.”

Leia‘s founders include two former HP Labs scientists, and the company develops screens that provide glasses-free 3D using LCD-based displays that diffract light in a way that creates a holographic effect… but which can also be disabled to let you view 2D content on a smartphone.

In other words, this may be a technology that changes the way you interact with phones. But if it turns out to be a gimmick that you don’t find particularly useful, you can just use the RED Hydrogen One as a normal phone (with special photographic features).

RED isn’t the first company to bet on glasses-free 3D as a potential differentiating factor for its smartphone. Amazon’s ill-fated Fire Phone also included a 3D feature… but that wasn’t enough to convince people to spend money on an otherwise decent phone running Amazon’s Fire OS software.

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6 replies on “RED’s upcoming phone has a “holographic” screen developed by Leia Inc”

  1. Based on what we know and can see, this isn’t a 3D Hologram that people imagine. Iran nothing like what you see on Star Wars, Minority Report, or Iron Man.

    This is more like a raised 2D screen with a bit of depth. Call it 2.5D to be more accurate.

    The first company to create actual 3D Holograms in the air, without the need for fog/mist/tricks will make it big in tech. Also needs a way for it to track interactivity by a person’s hands/fingers in 3D Space.

    It doesn’t even matter if it draws too much power, that’s a problem which could be solved. It sort of matters that it’s not too dim, but that’s a side problem which also could be fixed.

    Just like how yesteryear’s smartphones were displaced by current superphones, I believe today’s superphones will be displaced by Personal Holograms.
    I assume we may solve this within 20 years, and when we do, we would have watched that have a small always on OLED screen on the outside, but project from the inside, a decent 7in hologram into someone’s palm. This would allow people to use their superwatches as their console, phone, personal computer, music, and video player.

  2. The demo video that LEIA provided is showing some depictions of technology that they probably have no intention of delivering.

    I think most of us are smart enough to know that apparition-like holograms that stand out of the screen are not within our grasp right now.

    This video shows some pretty lofty things. Combined with the claim “the physics of light reimagined”. I think not, Leia. The physics remain, and you have not invented anything.

    1. I actually have one of LEIA’s early development kits (they used to sell to developers before they decided to focus on phone screens) and I have also seen some of their other (larger) screens in person in London. Even back then, they were quite impressive. They have essentially figured out a way to direct the backlight of the screen in different directions _per pixel_, so you’d end up with a screen with 1/8 of the native resolution on each axis but 64 possible viewing positions. Their dev kit consisted of a very high resolution _monochrome_ HDMI display (I think it was 1600×1600) the size of a large postage stamp – that would give you a resolution of 200×200 pixels in 3D.

      They showed me a demo of a larger color screen too, so I’m assuming the RED phone will not be monochrome :).

  3. Given that Sammies and iPhones are climbing up to this price bracket anyway, this seems actually kinda interesting to me.

  4. But want the fire phone 3D in a completely different way? I get the impressing it was basically a “tilt 3d” effect like with some screen savers in the play store. Not any special screen tech.

    Also, with the prices of the galaxy note 8, (and the rumored prices for the next iPhone) the RED doesn’t seem so far or of reach.

    1. 2D screen plus eye/face tracking so it could tell if you were looking at the screen from the left, right, up or down and adjust the content on the display accordingly.

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