RED Digital Cinema, best known among Hollywood insiders for its professional high-end cameras, is expanding into the consumer market: The company will start selling a smart phone dubbed the RED Hydrogen One via AT&T and Verizon this summer, both carriers announced Thursday.
Little is known about the Hydrogen One at this point, except for one key differentiator: The phone is equipped with what RED calls a holographic display, capable of displaying 3D content without the need to wear glasses, or even a VR headset.
Glasses-free 3D is not entirely new; TV manufacturers in particular have steadily been advancing the technology to offer 3D in the living room without the bulky glasses that contributed to the failure of previous 3D efforts. RED claims that its technology will be different from other attempts to bring 3D video to TVs and phones, but hasn’t shared many details about the technology it is using.
The company did reveal last year that it has developed its own video format, dubbed 4-view. It now plans to launch a video service dedicated to this type of content in time for the commercial availability of the Hydrogen One.
In addition to the 5.7-inch holographic display, the Hydrogen One also comes with the option to attach external accessories via a pogo pin system, which sounds similar to the way phone makers like Motorola and Essential have been allowing consumers to customize their phones with modular hardware including 360-degree cameras, mobile projectors and more. There is no word yet on what kind of accessories Red is planning to offer.
Also unclear at this point is the final price of the phone. RED offered consumers a chance to pre-order the device for a hefty $1200 when it first announced it last year, but carriers are likely going to make the phone a bit more affordable for qualifying customers. Final details are expected to be announced closer to the launch date, which is — you guessed it — also still unannounced.