red hydrogen smartphone

Photo via Red

Red to release ‘Hydrogen’ smartphone that’s the 1st ‘holographic media machine’

It'll cost you, though.


Josh Katzowitz


Published Jul 8, 2017   Updated May 23, 2021, 12:33 am CDT

Move over Samsung, Apple, and Google—there’s a new entrant into the world of smartphones. And this one is aiming to reinvent the way people look at their devices.

Red, a company which makes high-powered cameras that have been used to film movies like The Martian, has begun taking preorders for its own smartphone, called the Hydrogen, that Red says is “the world’s first holographic media machine … in your pocket.”

That means the 5.7-inch screen can switch between “traditional 2D content, holographic multi-view content, 3D content, and interactive games.”

“With one fell swoop … the future of personal communication, information gathering, holographic multi-view, 2-D, 3-D, AR/VR/MR, and image capture just changed forever,” Red said in its press kit.

But the phone, which is scheduled to be shipped in the first quarter of 2018 and will run on the Android operating system, won’t be cheap. The “Aluminum” model will cost $1,195, while the “Titanium” model will be sold for $1,595.

“This is a somewhat baffling device,” Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC. “Red has a reputation of delivering high-performance camera technology and that is undoubtedly one of the anchor elements of the device together with the holographic screen, but until more concrete details emerge it is difficult to judge.”

There are other unknowns. As TechCrunch wrote, “In fact, there are very few details about anything that should convince potential pre-orderers to plunk down many Benjamins on this device, with the company already maintaining that it ‘will NOT be able to fill all orders on time due to display production limitations,’ following fulfillment of pre-orders.”

But Red founder Jim Jannard answered some of the critics on a Red forum post, writing that the phone “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.”


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*First Published: Jul 8, 2017, 1:36 pm CDT