RED’s ‘holographic,’ ‘SOLID’ Hydrogen phone will ship this summer

Boutique Android phone makers didn’t have a good 2017, but RED aims to reverse that trend with its high-end Hydrogen handset, which founder Jim Jannard talks up in a recent post on the company’s forums. The chunky, unique device will ship in the summer, but those who have pre-ordered will be able to test out its “4-view” display in April.

Jannard crows about the quality of the display, the quality of the audio, the quality of the build, the versatility of the module system, and the “cool as hell” scalloped sides. He admits it’s big: 2 ounces more than other 5.7″ devices, as well as broader and thicker. “Think SOLID,” he concludes. At least that leaves room for a big battery (4500mAh) and dual SIM slots.

More importantly for some, the phone enjoys “unprecedented” carrier support. I’m not sure what that could really mean; it would be hard for it to outdo the iPhone, which is offered by pretty much every carrier. That’s a pretty strong precedent.

Let’s just take that at face value and assume it’ll be on most carriers — Jannard’s a good salesman, and the carriers likely want a fun up-sell device like this. Once customers hold this enormous, expensive phone in their hands, everything else will seem light and cheap.

The post does little to allay the apprehensions of those who have seen Jannard occasionally oversell RED’s offerings in posts just like this one.

The fact that still very few people have actually seen the vaunted “holographic” 4V display is cause for worry. Jannard’s claims here, that it’s better than 3D, immersive, spectacular etc, only count for so much.

The time of 3D content of whatever sort appears to have come and gone, thank god: the 3D component of TVs is now an afterthought if it’s present at all; 3D showings of movies aren’t as hyped; Nintendo all but abandoned 3D in its handheld that used it as a marquee feature; and so on. The truth is no one really ever wanted it, and while it was everywhere no one could be convinced it was worth having as anything other than a novelty.

So when Jannard writes this:

It gives a completely different feeling. All the pixels are there… but instead of “looking at” a pic, you are immersed in the image. It is quite spectacular.

We are showing prototypes now to content producing partners in preparation for the HYDROGEN Network. This will be the one place to find all 4V content online. From major studios and other content providers to creating your own channel.

We will be able to announce our social media partners pretty soon. You will not be disappointed who is supporting HYDROGEN 4V. Big dogs.

Many just hear “marketing marketing marketing.”

LEIA makes the display, and this semi-3D type of image is what we can expect.

We already know roughly how the image technology works, and while it could be cool, it might also prove tiring, difficult to watch or share, or have other issues like poor fidelity or limited use cases. All of which were true of Lytro, which was cool tech-wise

Will the Hydrogen be the equivalent of a Lytro attached to a too-big phone with expensive add-ons? Probably it won’t be that bad. It might even be really good. At the very least, it has a headphone jack.

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