This morning, RED founder Jim Jannard announced HYDROGEN ONE, the company's new 5.7" Android smartphone that sets out to rethink what a smartphone can be.
The full holographic phone displays both 2D and 3D virtual and augmented reality. It is built around the Hydrogen Holographic display, which uses nanotechnology to display content in the new proprietary H4V 4-view format, and is also backward-compatible with 2D and stereo 3D content, along with VR.
Hydrogen will also work with your current Scarlet, EPIC, and Weapon cameras as a high-quality monitor and remote control.
On top of that, a new H3O audio algorithm is designed to give you the sensation of 5.1 sound through your headphones, presumably by using some form of motion tracking to get a sense of your head as it moves through space, dynamically changing the mix in response.
This is the beginning of a modular platform of smartphones from RED that will integrate with attachments in the future for high-quality video, still, and holographic capture. The Hydrogen will also work with your current Scarlet, EPIC, and Weapon cameras as a high-quality monitor and remote control.
Upon hearing the rumors of the RED announcement, we guessed last week that we'd be looking at some version of a VR or AR system. It seems we weren't completely off the mark. There is a lot of heat in this space from big players, and it'll be interesting to see how RED's contribution shakes things up.
High-quality photo, video, and holographic capture will come as future modules, and are not included in the launch device.
Interestingly, there is no talk of integration with partners, such as we typically see from major manufacturers when launching new technology. (For instance, Apple's Live Photo announcement came with announced support for the format from Facebook.) It's unclear whether Instagram or any other photo sharing platform will be allowing holograms soon after launch—though this is fitting with the RED's ethos of "we build cool stuff and let you figure out what to do with it." If the hologram format is worthwhile and gains a following, we can be confident Instagram and Facebook, or some future hologram-only social network will integrate it into their feeds.
Another surprise is that high-quality photo, video, and holographic capture will come as future modules, and are not included in the launch device. This begs the question: if you buy now, which holograms will actually be on the device when you get it next winter? Hopefully, Hydrogen One will launch with at least the limited ability to capture holograms yourself.
If you order today, pricing is $1195 for the aluminum body and $1595 for the Titanium body. Early bird orders will come with a special, undisclosed gift. Pre-order at Red.com, shipping in Q1 2018.