The secret to RED Hydrogen's holographic display has a name and that name is Leia.
When RED announced it was going to release a smartphone, it was big news. Even bigger news was that the Hydrogen would feature a holographic display. Of course, we all wanted to know more about that feature, and with RED's recent announcement of its strategic investment with a company called Leia, we have more insight into that technology than we did before. So without further adieu, here are the details we have.
RED meets Leia
Leia is a startup company that commercializes LCD mobile screens that are able to create holographic content while retaining normal operation of the display, using a proprietary system of lightfield display technology comprised of hardware and software. RED revolutionized the cinema industry seven years ago when it released the world's first digital 4K cinema camera. This synergy between RED and Leia will combine RED's expertise in creating digital content and its connections to the film industry with Leia's proprietary holographic technology to disrupt the world of mobile entertainment.
How it works
Through its proprietary system, Leia allows users to view and interact with three-dimensional content displayed on (and seeming to protrude out from) the display. Using gesture control made possible by Leia's partnership with Synaptics, users can manipulate images that seem to exist above the surface of the display. The way this works is by adding nanostructures to a conventional LCD in order to create "diffractive lightfield backlighting." Leia claims that this technology doesn't affect the quality of the display, the device's battery consumption or its thickness when not being used for holographic viewing.
How well it works
While it's annoying that we don't have more substantive data on the Hydrogen and Leia's real-world performance, YouTuber Marques Brownlee, whose videos we referenced in our coverage of the RED Hydrogen's release, has had the opportunity to test the phone and claims that while he was "pretty impressed" with the holographic display, it leaves some room for improvement.
When you can get one
RED announced the new Hydrogen One will be available "first half of 2018," though earlier announcements claimed "early" 2018. Whether that reflects a change in RED's anticipated release or not is unclear. What we do know is that the phone already has pre-orders for its $1,195 aluminum body and $1,595 Titanium body models and that early bird orders will ship with a special gift. You can pre-order here.