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Here’s what we know about the Red Hydrogen holographic smartphone

If you’re a tech nerd, film buff, or camera enthusiast, you know Red. The brand is known for making modular cinema cameras but now they’re branching out to make its first phone called the Red Hydrogen. It’s not going to be a simple device, nor will it be affordable. Its pre-order prices peg it at US$1,595 for the titanium version and US$1,195 for the aluminum alloy model. The smartphone will supposedly feature a “holographic” display it calls 4-View. It won’t need any special glasses but will supposedly give you a glasses-free 3D image that will let you look around or behind the objects by showing multiple perspectives of what you’re watching. Its 5.7-inch display with “nanotechnology” can switch seamlessly from 2D, stereo 3D, to 4-View “holographic” modes.

Some of the details Red released about the device include that it runs on Android, it’ll be carrier unlocked, it’ll have front and back cameras with support for modular attachments (including being able to upgrade the camera module itself). It’ll have USB-C support, microSD card expansion, and a headphone jack. If you own a Red camera, it can be a touchscreen monitor for that. The device is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2018.

CNET dug deeper into what else Red might throw into the device and looked at patents the company has been filing since early 2014. One of the first things is it’ll have ridges on the side to provide better grip. Another is it might get support for interchangeable lenses with the company’s patent for a “low profile lens mount,” which is designed to be small and strong enough to attach interchangeable lenses (even the existing ones made by other manufacturers) to the phone’s chassis. Aside from that, there’s talk that you might be able to upgrade the camera sensor itself as well as swap out batteries. Some of the other modular ideas in the patent filing include a camera flash, image stabilization module, stereo 3D camera, a module with tripod mounts, and I/O module for ports.

There are prototypes of the device already with news that Brad Pitt and director David Fincher seeing one a few weeks back. Even J.J. Abrams got to see one. Major US carriers have also supposedly signed on. But the wait is still going to be a bit long. We can’t say yet if Red will be able to meet its target release date or keep the price within the pre-order range. Red founder Jim Jannard has hinted that it might even cost more. If and when it does come out, it’ll be in the bleeding edge of tech. And we’re excited to see if it delivers.

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