RED announces new $1,195 Android phone with 5.7-inch "holographic display", coming in 2018

Imaging specialist RED - which is best known for making spectacular high-end cameras that have been used to film some of the biggest and most successful movies of recent years - is now turning its attentions to the fiercely competitive mobile industry.

Today, RED announced a new premium smartphone that will feature a 5.7-inch "holographic display", making "glasses obsolete".

"This incredible retina-riveting display advancement features nanotechnology that seamlessly switches between traditional 2D content, holographic multi-view content, 3D content, and interactive games," the company said in a press release (PDF).

RED described the device, called the Hydrogen One, as "a standalone, full-featured, unlocked multi-band smartphone operating on the Android OS that just happens to add a few additional features that shatter the mold of conventional thinking."

The Hydrogen One will also be a modular device, with a "new high-speed data bus... which will include future attachments for shooting higher quality motion and still images as well as Hydrogen format holographic images." Indeed, it's no great surprise that RED envisages its new smartphone as an integral part of its existing hardware ecosystem, promising that it will hook into "the professional RED camera program, working together with Scarlet, EPIC and Weapon [its cameras] as a user interface and monitor."

RED is apparently keen to ensure that users can create and consume holographic content as they wish as well. It explained:

Embedded in the OS is a proprietary H3O algorithm that converts stereo sound into expansive multi-dimensional audio. Think 5.1 on your headphones. The perfect match for holographic H4V or just listening to your favorite tunes. The difference this makes would be enough to justify the entire system.

[...]

[The RED Channel will be] one channel to find all 4-View holographic content. Create .h4v (or convert 3D to .h4v) content and upload. Download or stream to view. Movies, documentaries, games, shopping and other apps all found with one click.

The Hydrogen One is available to pre-order today, priced at $1,195 for the aluminum model, or $1,595 if titanium is more your thing. The device will include a microSD card slot, and will come with a USB-C cable and charger, "plus a 'special small token' for ordering early".

There are still a lot of unanswered questions in RED's buzzword-heavy announcement, particularly around the "nanotechnology" used in the device's "holographic display", and how it will work in practice. RED has revealed precious few details about the device, and acknowledged that the "design shown may change".

RED also said that the Hydrogen One is "targeted to ship [in] Q1 2018", but adds that "specs and delivery dates can change anytime and for any reason."

Source: RED (PDF)

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