Compared to many other manufacturers, RED is quite new to the cinematography scene. You might not have heard of the company, but in the commercial sector its cameras are second to none. RED has slowly established itself to be a standard for many Hollywood movies shot at 4K and 8K resolution. But because of the price and bulk, its camera market is very limited when it comes to general consumers. And that is exactly where the company is headed next.
Our smartphones are slowly becoming our primary cameras. They are portable, quick and very convenient to use. In light of this, RED is looking to capitalise. Coining its next product as media centric, the company has announced its first smartphone: Hydrogen One.
It is to bring a 5.7-inch display that allows viewing VR, AR, 3D and holographic “Hydrogen 4-view content” without the need for glasses. Through the 3.5mm headphone jack, you will also be able to convert stereo sound to Dolby 5.1 surround sound.
Like many of RED’s cameras, the phone is also said to be modular. But that doesn’t just mean expandable storage via microSD. In fact, it is set to be something similar to what the Moto Z series offers. We can expect a variety of separately sold modules that will enrich the camera experience further.
For existing RED camera users, the Hydrogen One will also be able to work with a variety of their cameras to double as a user interface and monitor. And while nothing else major was made clear apart from a USB-C port, the price definitely was. For the smartphone with an aluminium build, the pre-order price is $1,195 (Dh4,390), with the titanium model up for grabs at $1,595.
With most product details unclear and pre-orders shipping early next year, the price is a lot to ask for. There is no doubt that RED will likely deliver based on its previous track record. But is the Hydrogen One a device that will revolutionise the smartphone market? The answer is quite a mixed one.
With Apple and Samsung sitting at the throne, it will be a very difficult task for RED to sway loyal fans. The Hydrogen One is definitely aiming for the more premium consumers considering its starting price. And with additional modules set to break the bank further, the phone at present looks to be something for the enthusiast rather than the average smartphone user. Only time will tell how successful it will be.