It has been hyped as the world's first "holographic media machine that fits in your pocket," with no glasses required. And now we know that the RED Hydrogen One smartphone from RED will be made available by the two largest U.S. carriers, AT&T and Verizon.
AT&T announced Thursday that it will be selling the device come summer. Verizon more vaguely said it will be arriving "later this year."
Neither carrier said what the phone would cost, but RED's since discontinued pre-order pricing had started near $1,300.
RED is a camera producer whose cinematic equipment is used in Hollywood. At RED Studios in Los Angeles on Saturday, the media is invited to get a private sneak peek at Hydrogen One.
AT&T is inviting the public to their own demo of the phone on June 2 and 3, at AT&T Shape at Warner Bros. Studios in L.A. You’ll have to register first.
Whether consumers (who will be able to afford the phone) will be dazzled by technology touted by the hype-meisters as “retina-riveting” is no guarantee. It’s not like phones with 3D screens ever found an audience.
Indeed, other phones, such as 2011's HTC EVO 3D from Sprint, also offered glasses-free 3D at a time when 3D was supposed to be the next big thing. Needless to say, it didn't catch on.
For its part, Hydrogen One will have a 5.7-inch screen capable of displaying a “4-view holographic content.” In theory, that means you will be able to look around, below, and even into the screen’s image. Still to be answered: how many holographic movies, games, shopping and other apps will be made available at launch, and how good will that content look?
Besides the holographic fare, the folks at RED say you’ll able to view stereo 3D content, as well as virtual reality, augmented reality, and yes, regular 2D material too. Again, the question is who will provide such content, particularly as companies have moved away from 3D beyond the cinema.
RED claims Hydrogen One is designed for "doers, makers and content creators." Using what is being referred to as a "pogo pin system" you'll also be able to stack modules onto the device to add functionality, presumably along the lines of what Motorola does on its Moto Z smartphones with Moto Mods accessories. Again no details have been supplied, but given RED's pedigree, you can imagine modules could add new camera tech in some fashion.
The phone was originally slated to ship during the first three months of 2018, so it is already late to market. RED is no longer taking pre-orders, which had been priced at $1,295 for an aluminum version and $1,595 for a titanium model.
I'm ready to be wowed by something new and different. But at this pre-release stage, and not having seen the phone, you can color me a skeptic.
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