1How Red Will Draw Buyers to Its $1,600 Hydrogen Smartphone
Red is a company best known for making some of the world’s most expensive and visually stunning digital video cameras. But now the company is turning its attention to smartphones. In an announcement July 6, Red said it is planning to release a handset called Hydrogen that will cost a whopping $1,600. For that lofty price, users will find a smartphone featuring a holographic display and modularity to enable users to add features by swapping out components. The specifications make it sound as though Red is building a camera with smartphone features, rather than just another mobile phone. Red is counting on the high-quality features to justify its high cost. Read on to learn more.
2What Is Red All About?
3What Is the Purpose of the Holographic Display?
The Red Hydrogen comes with what Red calls a 5.7-inch holographic display. That means it can adapt to content on the fly. The device can display 2D content at full resolution as well as holographic content that combines four visual perspectives of the same program. It also supports virtual-reality and augmented-reality content displayed in both 2D and 3D.
4Red Brings High-End Design Concepts to Smartphones
Similar to the company’s high-end cameras, Red’s smartphone is coming with finely crafted finishes. The Red Hydrogen will come in a titanium model and an aluminum option. Both will feature a thin design, though they’ll be a bit thicker than competing devices due to their modular design. It’s unknown whether the Hydrogen’s screen will cover its face entirely, like the Galaxy S8, or have a physical home button under the display.
5Red Is Committed to Modular Components
Modularity will play a central role in the Hydrogen’s experience. According to Red, users will be able to swap out certain components for others. Red currently envisions the modular areas to be used for camera lenses, but says the device will benefit from an “ever-growing modular component system” that will extend well beyond cameras.
6This Smartphone Has Surround Sound Built In
Red is using H30, its proprietary algorithm for audio, in the Hydrogen. H30 essentially takes single- or dual-channel sound and extrapolates it to re-create the effect of 5.1-channel surround sound. The company argues that the audio Hydrogen will deliver will be enough to “justify” buying the smartphone.
7We Know It Will Run Android
Red has confirmed the Hydrogen will run on Android. However, the company hasn’t answered important questions about the software and applications that will run on the handset, including which version of Android it will ship with. It’s also unclear whether Red is creating its own user interface for the operating system.
8Hydrogen Will Display Visual Reality Without a Headset
The Red Hydrogen will have a microSD card slot for additional storage and a USB-C charging port to allow for quick-charging. Additionally, the device is optimized for virtual reality and augmented reality through its holographic display, which won’t require users to wear glasses or a headset. It’s the first smartphone to offer that feature.
9Major Questions Remain Unanswered
Red hasn’t answered certain questions regarding the Hydrogen. It’s unknown which processor the smartphone will run on or what the front of the device will look like. In fact, Red noted it might tweak the design before it’s released. And, as discussed, the company hasn’t specified which Android version the device will use. Red anticipates answering those questions in the coming months.
10High Prices Suggest Red Isn’t Depending on Huge Sales Numbers
The Red Hydrogen might prove to be one of the most expensive smartphones ever released. The aluminum version will cost $1,195. The titanium option will go for $1,595 due to the significantly higher price of acquiring the material. Both versions will be available unlocked in the U.S., so users can run it on their carrier network of choice.
11Why It’s Important to Order Early
Those interested in buying the Red Hydrogen should move quickly to pre-order the device. In a statement, Red said it plans a first-quarter 2018 release. However, only those who pre-order will be guaranteed delivery on time. Those ordering it after its release should expect delays “due to display production limitations,” the company said.