RED – the world-renown digital camera company – is attempting to do what no other camera manufacturer has been able to do: create a modular smartphone with built-in holographic 3D technology. This is a pretty tall order and judging from its pending patent, RED has their work cut out for them.

The Hydrogen One

Called the Hydrogen One, Red is already accepting pre-orders of its holographic smartphone as of July 6 (2017). With a focus on cornering the luxury market, RED has plans to release two editions: a titanium version priced at $1,595 and an aluminum build edition priced $1,195.

When it comes to high-end cameras, RED is by no means a new-kid-on-the-block. The company’s technology has been used in recent blockbuster movies including Transformers: The Last Knight, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, and The Martian. Needless to say, RED has an impressive resume. With that being said, the digital camera company’s plans to make its glass-less holographic media machine a mainstream phenomenon is a bit far-fetched.

RED’s Modular Smartphone Concept

With a target audience that falls somewhere between wealthy smartphone user and professional filmmaker, RED’s Hydrogen One modular camera system comes equipped with interchangeable parts. Whether it’s swapping out the screen, lens, camera, or the accessories, users will have a smartphone that doubles as a professional camera system. The everyday customer would have to get accustomed to having their smartphone buried inside a camera rig and the filmmaker would need to find value in abandoning their high-end studio camera to adopt a modular system. Both are tough sells.

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. Our display is technology you haven’t seen before. It is not lenticular, which is the inferior tech in every way, has been tried many times before and failed for good reason.”

RED says that it will also use an algorithm to convert stereo sound into “multi-dimensional audio” to add to the immersive experience, according to a recent article in The Verge. “Or, as RED puts it, to “ASSAULT YOUR SENSES.”

The 1st Holographic Media Machine

Designed to offer both 3D and 4D display technology, the Hydrogen One can seamlessly integrate with RED’s professional camera equipment with the right attachments. This all-in-one media system will come with a USB-C cable, charger, and an expandable Micro SD card slot. A simple camera attachment upgrade transforms the Hydrogen One into a control center monitor for RED’s professional camera system.

Initial plans have RED’s holographic smartphone running on an Android operating system – but no specific details have been released on how the technology will be integrated. With an estimated ship date scheduled for Q1 of 2018 and the company releasing a statement explaining that it “will not be able to fulfill all orders on time due to display production limitations,” there’s certainly enough ammo for skepticism.

About RED

The Red Digital Cinema Camera Company is an American company that manufactures digital cinematography and photography cameras and accessories.

The company’s headquarters are in Irvine, California, with studios in Hollywood, California. It has offices in London, Shanghai, and Singapore, retail stores in Hollywood, New York, and Miami as well as various authorized resellers and service centers around the world.

Sources: TechCrunch, The Verge, RED