There is another Hydrogen phone on the horizon, though if your enthusiasm for one of the most hyped smartphone brands is tempered at this point, it is completely understandable. The Hydrogen One did not exactly enjoy a smooth launch. In a blog post confirming plans to launch a Hydrogen Two model, RED founder Jim Jannard explained why the Hydrogen One stumbled out of the gate.
According to Jannard, an ODM (original design manufacturer) in China dropped the ball and did come through on its side of the bargain. That ODM was supposed to prepare the Hydrogen One for manufacturing at Foxconn, which assembles a wide range of electronics, including Apple's iPhone handsets.
"While Foxconn has been fantastic, our ODM, which was responsible for the mechanical packaging of our design including new technologies along with all software integration with the Qualcomm processor, has significantly under-performed. Getting our ODM in China to finish the committed features and fix known issues on the Hydrogen One has proven to be beyond challenging. Impossible actually. This has been irritating me to death and flooding our reactor," Jannard explains.
Jannard says RED has spent months vetting a new design and has now begun work on the Hydrogen Two, which is being designed and developed "virtually from scratch" at a new ODM. He also promises that the new ODM is "clearly more capable" than the last one RED contracted.
"We also have put into place a new internal execution team along with world class design-partners that we have carefully selected. The HYDROGEN Two is being methodically designed and crafted to surprise and exceed expectations… again, just as you would expect from us," Jannard says.
RED is also working on a new camera module, since the previous ODM was not going to finish the original one. It is being developed in-house, and is an "extraordinary sensor" that will "vastly exceed the originally planned module," Jannard promises. Both the Hydrogen One and Two will integrate the new camera.
It sounds like a bum deal for early adopters of the Hydrogen One. Jannard recognizes this, adding that "every Hydrogen One owner will get significant preferential treatment for the Hydrogen Two and/or new cinema camera model" as it pertains to delivery allocation and pricing.
"We remain committed to taking care of our customers the best way we can given all the circumstances," Jannard says.
How it all pans out remains to be seen.