High-end camera maker RED has just announced a premium smartphone called Hydrogen One, and the headlining feature is something the company is referring to as a “holographic display.” A buzzword-filled press release for Hydrogen One says that the 5.7-inch display somehow uses nanotechnology to “seamlessly [switch] between traditional 2D content, holographic multi-view content, 3D content, and interactive games.”
It all sounds like some sort of mix between the gimmicky visual trickery Amazon offered with the Fire Phone and the glasses-less 3D displays like the ones found on the Nintendo 3DS. But in a forum post written shortly after the announcement, RED founder Jim Jannard says “there is no good way to describe it until you see it.” He also writes that “our display is technology you haven’t seen before. It is not lenticular, which is inferior tech in every way, has been tried many times before and failed for good reason. (see Amazon 3D Fire, LG Optimus, etc).”
RED says that it will also use an algorithm to convert stereo sound into “multi-dimensional audio” to add to the immersive experience — or, as RED puts it, to “ASSAULT YOUR SENSES.” The phone will allow for modular attachments, similar to those found on the Moto Z line or the Essential Phone, but with a special focus on image capture. And the phone will work (somehow) with RED’s extensive lineup of digital cinema cameras.
The company says the phone will ship in early 2018, and it’s currently available for preorder on RED’s website. It starts at $1,195 for the aluminum version, and there’s also a $1,595 variant made out of titanium.
All of this is subject to change, though. The company writes that the design of the phone may change, but more importantly, “after this initial release we will NOT be able to fill all orders on time due to display production limitations. We will NOT guarantee these prices at the time of release.” The modular attachments won’t be available at launch, either.
Otherwise, Hydrogen One sounds like any other relatively beefed-up Android phone, though we don’t know exact specs. If you tweak the brightness of the photo, you can see a very grippy design, and a relatively small camera bump. It will use USB Type-C, it has a microSD slot for expandable storage, and yes — it has a headphone jack.
Update July 6th, 5:45PM ET: RED founder Jim Jannard posted more information about the Hydrogen One on a RED users forum. This information has been added to the story.