RED

RED delays first smartphone, admits 'we have no idea whatsoever what we are doing'

'Truly, we have no business entering this market' says company founder

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High-end cinema camera company RED has delayed the launch of its first smartphone, the Hydrogen One, because, founder Jim Jannard says, "We have no idea whatsoever what we are doing."

The alarming admission came in a post on RED's user forum, where Jannard said the smartphone will be delayed slightly from its previous vague launch window of "summer" 2018, to August. Pre-orders opened for the $1,200 handset last August, and interested buyers were warned at the time that "specs and delivery dates can change any time, for any reason".

Made from aluminium and boasting a 5.7-inch "holographic" screen which lets users look around and behind objects displayed on it, the RED Hydrogen One is expected to cost $1,200 when (if) it finally goes on sale. A version made from titanium is priced at $1,595.

The phone will feature a modular design, where batteries and cameras can be swapped out with more powerful versions to improve the phone's performance in those key areas. RED also says the phone will serve as a touchscreen viewfinder for its other cameras.

The company is best known for producing high-end professional video camerasRED

The delay, Jannard says, is down to adding dual cameras to both the front and back of the smartphone, which will apparently enable RED's "4-View" video content, where you move your head to look around video on the screen. RED also claims it has created a video chat platform for owners of the Hologram phone to talk to each other with the 4-View video format. Although not yet seen by outsiders, 4-View is thought to be similar to a 3D holographic experience, only more-so.

In a follow-up note, written in April and spotted by Cnet this week, Jannard added, in a brutally honest fashion: "For those who are nervous...let me see if I can offer some comfort. We have no idea whatsoever what we are doing. We have never built a phone. No one ever tried to integrate a 4-view display in anything before."

He went on to admit that, when the phone finally launches, it "won't be complete...there were be more firmware/software updates than any other phone ever made. We are learning as we go. Truly, we have no business entering this market."

In a bid to comfort nervous customers wondering if they will ever see the phone they have ordered, Jannard explained how this situation was the same when RED first entered the professional video camera market in 2006. "We had no idea what we were doing, no clue about the cinema industry," he added, describing the phone as "the single most exciting thing I have ever worked on. I get that my reputation is on the line. Perfect."

The phone is expected to be seen in person for the first time at a launch event on May 19, at RED's studios in Hollywood.


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