RED’s HYDROGEN phone still isn’t shipping in any sort of real numbers, and only a handful of individuals have been able to get their hands on one so far. The HYDROGEN is a standalone, full-featured, unlocked multi-band smartphone operating on Android OS that just happens to have a few additional features that haven’t been seen before.
Michael’s analysis is just a preliminary evaluation of the most common way many of us use phones: taking pictures. At the time of this analysis, Hydrogen is in beta, and the images and features continue to improve at an incredible rate. Michael expects that over the next 24 months, to see Hydrogen wedge itself into a market that currently does not exist: smartphone cinema. While the HYDROGENS camera abilities do look pretty impressive, it’s hard to know just how well they compare to other smartphones on the market, like Apple’s latest offerings. RED has incorporated a lot of photographic features into the HYDROGEN as standard, whereas with the iPhone, you would need to download a third-party app.
Now, the biggest selling point of the HYDROGEN is definitely its camera and the fact that it incorporates a high-speed data bus to enable a comprehensive and ever-expanding modular component system, which will include future attachments for shooting higher quality motion and still images.
The display options are also unique on the HYDROGEN. With a 5.7″ Professional Hydrogen Holographic Display where you don’t need to wear glasses, support for holographic RED Hydrogen 4-View content (H4V), and viewing modes for AR, MR, VR, Holographic, 2D, 3D in Landscape or Portrait there is a lot to like. The question is, does the imagery produced on the HYDROGEN enough to tempt people away from Apple. In some respects, it needs to be not just as good, but a lot better for the phone to appeal to a wider audience.
From what I have seen from HYDROGEN so far it looks like the best feature is the ability to use the automated depth of field mode with any picture. On the iPhone, you need to be a certain distance away from an object for it to work, which isn’t always ideal. On the HYDROGEN you can apply it to any photo.
In some ways, the HYDROGEN is a bit of a gamble for RED. The cell phone market is one of the most competitive businesses around, although I really don’t think RED is trying to steal massive market share from Apple, Samsung, or anyone else. The HYDROGEN looks to be more of a niche product targeted at filmmakers, especially once the additional modules and accessories become available. This could turn your phone into a mini digital cinema camera (although probably at a significant cost), where you could build it up or down depending on what you need it for. This alone is an interesting concept. Electronic products, in general, are becoming more and more multifunctional. Remember when your cellphone just made and received calls? Things have certainly come a long way in a short period of time and companies need to continually innovate to stay relevant.
I hate to say it, but in typical RED fashion, the HYDROGEN continues to be delayed. If you remember back when it was announced, RED said the HYDROGEN will start shipping in Q1 of 2018. Well, it is now October, and very few HYDROGEN phones have shipped to anyone.