RED Announces Hydrogen One

Published on in Equipment / Tech Reviews

This past Thursday RED announced the Hydrogen One. The specifics were few and far between but according to the information out there so far, here is what we do know. According to RED, the Hydrogen One will run the Android operating system on a 5.7-inch "hydrogen holographic display." This according to RED will make glasses a thing of the past. Users will be able to switch between 2D, Holographic, 3D and Interactive games. The Hydrogen One will also feature a modular camera unit that users can switch out with various camera modules for higher-quality motion and still images. Additionally, the Hydrogen One is being touted as the “control center” for the Hydrogen System. Users will be able to control RED cameras such Scarlet, Weapon and Epic as a user interface and monitor. RED is also adding a proprietary audio format for multidimensional audio to match your holographic content. RED says to think of it as 5.1 on your headphones," RED's Hydrogen One looks like it'll have a headphone jack-based on the image provided. 

RED's Hydrogen One smartphones will come in two finishes: a $1,195 aluminum model and a $1,595 titanium model.
So now that we have gotten past the initial shockwave of the Hydrogen One announcement, let's take a look at the very interesting things Jim Jannard had to say on the REDUser forum.

So very interesting day to say the least. I love some of the reactions.

In no particular order, let me take a few swings here.

The Holographic Display: It is incredible. It is multi-view (4-view) as compared to stereo 3D (2-view). Watching shocked faces light up when people see it is really motivating. There is no good way to describe it until you see it. Hopefully, we will get some skeptics eyes on it soon… then they can tell you.

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). Lenticular display dramatically lowers resolution, cannot be turned off for standard 2D content, only works in one direction (usually landscape), has color crosstalk… to name just a few issues. My bet is that other “big” companies will try to re-package lenticular 3D displays with eye-tracking in response to our program. Don’t fall for it.  

Why did some Redusers blindly order HYDROGEN today without even reading the release? This seems incredible to those unfamiliar with the RED program. Over the past 10 years, RED has gone from scam (announcing the impossible) to delivering the impossible… over and over. Our core customers have seen and participated in this process and have stories to tell. Apparently, we have earned their “blind trust” because we have not let them down. We understand that those unfamiliar with our history will certainly not get this.  

Some additional details: one website said it was unclear whether HYDROGEN came with a battery. Let me assure you that it does.

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 other 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. 

So why do we feel we can make a difference in the cell phone market? Because we are doing everything different and (we feel) better. That is the only way to enter a market. That was the thinking behind Oakley. It was the thinking when we released the RED ONE. Same formula. Make something significantly better and you have a reason to be.

We look forward to releasing many more details and specs about the project as time goes along. Anytime you don’t like what you see, a full refund for any reason spoken here. However… be prepared to be surprised on the upside. It only gets better the more information you have.

Today we saw the full range from “complete trust” to “hard skepticism”. I have seen this before… many times actually. That makes me smile.

RED Hydrogen One The Deeper Dive and Analysis

So the cat is out of the bag and RED has once again decided to go (all) in their own direction with the announcement of the Hydrogen One. This is by any definition a great thing! To paraphrase a quote I use a lot “Technology does not advance in a nice and even way.” It is all over the place with fits and stops, great leaps of faith and sometimes a little good luck and good timing.” I have seen dozens (hundreds) of great new technologies just the last 10 years. From what I have read in the patent and online RED has left the door wide open for design and spec changes. Why not? I love the honest fresh approach. Smart. Very smart. Will the later add-on modules be cheap? Most likely not. Is there a risk that the Hydrogen One might not be what we think it might be? Of course. But isn’t our profession all about taking risks? This from the same person who has had a racecar fly over their heads.

I have great admiration and applaud the risk takers and first adopters. If I had the $1595 to plunk down I would be next in line. You bet. How people decide to invest their own hard earned money is their business. I have seen thousands of comments both good and bad since the Hydrogen announcement. Jim Jannard and RED is used to the naysayers. I say go get em’ RED. 

About the Author

Mark Foley is the Technology Editor for ProductionHUB. When he isn’t in the middle of a gear geek fest he can be seen seeing how far he will go to get “the shot”.

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