RED weaponises the smart phone

Red Hydrogen One
Neal Romanek
July 7th 2017 at 12:20PM : By Neal Romanek

RED's new "holographic" smartphone will ship in the first quarter of 2018

RED cinema, makers of high-end cinema cameras, have surprised everyone by unveiling an Android smartphone - with a glasses-free holographic display. The product is called Hydrogen One and looks to be the introductory technology for a whole proprietary "Hydrogen" ecosystem.

Announced yesterday, the tech details of the Hydrogen One are still obscure. The multi-band Androoid phone will have a 5.7in screen which, according to the company, uses some type of nanotechnology to display 2D content, holographic multi-view content, 3D content and interactive games.

What "holographic" literally means is not completely spelled out. One assumes it means a kind of glasses free 3D. Low-resolution, lenticular examples of which were trialled a couple years ago without much success. By dropping the expression "retina-riveting" into its press release suggests REd seems to be throwing down against Apple's own screen resolution tech.

With the phone, RED will introduce a new proprietary 3D video format, called .h4v. The .h4v format looks to be a cornerstone of the company's future plans to promote 3D/holographic content. 

Hydrogen audio

RED is also incorporating spatial sound in the design. Always fond of bellicose imagery, the company declares that the smartphone's audio will "assault your senses".

"Embedded in the OS is a proprietary H3O algorithm that converts stereo sound into expansive, multi-dimensional audio," said the company. "Think 5.1 on your headphones...The difference this makes would be enough to justify the entire system."

The new Hydrogen ecosystem

RED made its name by introducing high-tech modularity into its camera designs, and the Hydrogen One looks to be just one module in a larger technology solution. The company said that the phone is "the foundation of a future multi-dimensional media system" and the "control centre for the Hydrogen system".

The phone incorporates a high-speed data bus which will allow future attachments for shooting higher quality imagery, including Hydrogen format holographic images. The phone can be integrated with all of Red's high end cinema cameras.

RED is also creating a channel for distributing its holographic content. Content, inlcuding video content, games and apps, in the .h4v format can be uploaded, downloaded and streamed.

Order one now?

The Hydrogen One is available for pre-order now. The phone comes in two versions, Aluminum and Titanium (the elements from which each version is made, we assume). RED will not guarantee these prices at the time of release.

Where's the camera?

But what's the most noteworthy thing about the Hydrogen One? One of the world's premiere camera manufacturers has created a media-centric smart phone - and hasn't mentioned a word about the camera in it. IS there a camera in it? The product shot would seem to suggest so. We can only assume there's more to come. 


Update: Red founder Jim Jennard addressed the Red Hydrogen camera in a Red User Forum post:  

"It also comes with internal storage and an external micro SD card slot. And a headphone jack. A selfie camera and a back camera. These cameras will not produce cinema quality images. No cell phone does. What we will have is a modular system that adds image quality well beyond any other camera short of our professional cameras. Remember that we have a lot of elbow room on this front. Our Weapon Helium sensor scored 108 on That beat the Sony A7RII by 10 full points."