RED Hydrogen One Prototype Preview Reveals A Smartphone Like No Other With Serious Skills

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RED, a company known for super high-end Hollywood movie cameras, announced last month that it would be building a smartphone. The biggest claim to fame for the device, called the Hydrogen One, was the glasses-free holographic display. The smartphone would also be able to be used as a remote control for the RED camera systems. What bothered a lot of folks is that other than talking up that holographic display and the ability to control RED cameras, not much else was known.

That RED Hydrogen One prototype smartphone has now turned up on a video by Marques Brownlee, who is among the first to see the device in person. The video also shows more images of the smartphone that were reportedly of prototype device. There are several different prototypes in the video, one of them is a fit and finish prototype, which is representative of what the finished smartphone will look like. 

The fit and finish prototype has a metal back (the final product is promised with aluminum in the low-end version and titanium in the high-end version) with what Brownlee says are kevlar panels. These panels look a lot like carbon fiber. The Hydrogen One is larger than the iPhone 7 seen in the video for size comparison, that should mean plenty of room for high-end hardware inside. There is still no mention of what hardware will be used to power the device.

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The camera bump appears to be a large circle and with the RED name and reputation for high-end cameras, we expect the hardware inside to be very impressive. The power button on the side is large and flat, with an integrated fingerprint reader. The red button low on the side of the device is a dedicated video record button.

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There is a USB-C charge port on the bottom along with the presence of a headphone jack. Brownlee does note that RED is planning to move that headphone port to the top of the phone for production models. The screen is said to be a 5.5-inch super-high resolution unit. The gold pins on the back side of the device under the logo are for expansion modules to add more functions to the smartphone.

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Brownlee wasn't allowed to show the holographic display prototype, and he said it still had "quirks"; but he does say that the display tech is impressive. He also points out that the holographic mode is defeatable and you can run the screen in full-time 2D mode if you want. RED says that it thinks the Hydrogen One will be the future for recording small form factor video meant for mobile users. Super high-end video capability is a given with the RED name attached. The only still and video cameras that Brownlee says RED claims will outperform the Hydrogen One are RED's own higher-end cameras, which is a bold promise. A final prototype with the fit and finish and fancy screen in one device is expected in 30 to 45 days.