Professional camera company RED is best known for its high-end cameras that are used to film blockbuster movies like “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2,” and “The Martian,” among many others.
But now it’s getting into the smartphone game. On Thursday, the company announced it’s planning on releasing a smartphone in early 2018 called the RED Hydrogen One.
The Hydrogen One will run the Android operating system on a 5.7-inch “hydrogen holographic display.” It’s not clear how sharp the display will be, but RED touts that it’ll display 3D “holographic” content without the need for special glasses, though the company didn’t specify how 3D “holographic” content differs from traditional 3D content.
The Hydrogen One will also feature a modular camera unit that users can switch out with various camera modules for “higher quality motion and still images.” You’ll even have the ability to use a module that captures 3D footage in RED’s own holographic video format, called “Hydrogen.” However, those modules won’t be ready at launch.
Not forgetting the importance of audio, RED is also adding its own proprietary audio format for “multi-dimensional” audio to match your holographic content. “Think 5.1 [surround sound] on your headphones,” RED’s marketing claims. From the only available photo of the Hydrogen One, it looks like it’ll have a headphone jack.
Should you be an owner of a RED Scarlet, Epic, or Weapon camera, you’ll be able to use the Hydrogen One to control the camera.
RED’s Hydrogen One smartphones will come in two finishes, including a $1,200 aluminum model, and a $1,600 titanium model. Interestingly, the Hydrogen One will be more expensive than RED’s least expensive camera. The Raven model costs $500 (not including necessary accessories like a lens, battery, and storage units) and shoots in 4.5K resolution.
Little is known about the Hydrogen One’s internal specs. For the price it’s asking, we’d expect it to run on the latest and most powerful processor with plenty of RAM to handle all that 3D “holographic” content the company is boasting about. Anything else, and the high price tag is going to be a tough sell.
You can pre-order the Hydrogen One today from RED’s website for an estimated delivery in the first quarter of 2018. It’ll be interesting to see how a company that makes cameras designed for cinematic features will fare against more traditional smartphone cameras, like the iPhone 7’s or the best-in-class Galaxy S8’s camera.