Camera maker RED just announced a $1200 phone — the Hydrogen One

RED, best known for its massively powerful cinema-quality cameras, has announced it's making a smartphone called the "Hydrogen One." Pre-orders have opened up at $1195 each, but that's a starting price for just the aluminum one — you can spend $1595 for a titanium model as well.

Reading through its spartan pre-order page and informational PDF, it takes you a minute to figure out that it's actually a smartphone and not some camera accessory. RED bills the Hydrogen One as "the world's first holographic media machine. in your pocket. no glasses needed," going on to say that this is "the future of personal communication, information gathering, holographic multi-view, 2D, 3D, AR/VR/MR, and image capture just changed forever."

Wow. Okay.

So much marketing, so many buzzwords, such an assault on our senses.

So we know it's a smartphone. Based on the photo above, it looks pretty radical at that — just as you'd expect if you've ever seen one of REDs cameras. It's unlocked, runs Android and apparently "shatters the mold of conventional thinking." (Whatever that means.) The display comes in at 5.7-inches but of course offers this "holographic" glasses-free 3D capability, which has yet to be explained. The immersive experience continues to its sound, which apparently can use an "H3O algorithm" to transform sound into multi-dimensional audio. We see a headphone jack, a USB-C port, and some (likely non-functional) heat sink fins.

The Hydrogen One is also apparently modular — the "foundation of a future multi-dimensional media system." We can see very Moto Z-like pins on the back of the Hydrogen One, which RED says is a high-speed data bus for comprehensive and ever-expanding modular components, including future attachments for higher quality photos and videos. Just as you'd expect, the Hydrogen One is expected to integrate tightly into the RED camera systems as well.

So much marketing, so many buzzwords, such an assault on our senses. The Hydrogen One seems ... interesting. In the same way the Saygus V2 kind of seems interesting. RED says pre-orders will ship from a "personal first production batch," which is supposed to be in Q1 2018.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.