After the mess that was the HYDROGEN One, you might have thought that the digital camera maker RED has given up on its smartphone dreams but that doesn't seem to be the case here. The company's founder Jim Jannard has announced that a successor is on the cards, along with a revamped version of the highly anticipated camera module that was axed by the company.
RED says that while it makes the Oakley sunglasses and its cameras, it outsourced the tasked of building its first smartphone to a Chinese Original Device Maker (ODM) and it let them down. The manufacturer didn't deliver on its commitments and also failed to address the issues associated with the HYDROGEN One.
And thus, the company has partnered with a new ODM for the HYDROGEN Two, which will work with RED's execution team and design partners. The company says that the new phone will exceed expectations, but after HYDROGEN One, it's hard to take these promises seriously.
HYDROGEN One sounded too good to be true from the outset and the company clear over-promised and under-delivered. And that's not all that surprising, as RED is primarily a camera maker and perhaps the company should have stuck with a simpler design for its first try.
Instead, the company went all out and promised a holographic display that can switch between 3D and 2D content. When the phone came out, it was clearly a dud. The 4V display, which was capable of displaying four different images, was only compatible with a few apps. It was written off as gimmicky and there were issues with the phone's camera and audio quality too.
In short, it was a disaster and for 1,300 bucks, users obviously expected better. The only saving grace could have been camera modules, which were promises but were later canceled. The company blames this on the ODM too and it has said that it's now working on a revamped version of the module that was originally planned.
Called "Komodo," the new module will also work with HYDROGEN One. Of course, it will not be the same as the company's high-end cameras, but RED says that it will be a complimentary unit for cinema level images at a low price.
Jannard also says that HYDROGEN One customers will get preferential treatment for the orders of the second generation device as well as the camera module. They have also been promised a discount, but it remains to be seen if they would want to buy the device after their first experience.
The specifications of the HYDROGEN Two haven't been announced yet and the company also hasn't revealed when the phone will be launched. Hopefully, this time around the company will take a more feasible approach instead of promising some next-level device that it is not capable of manufacturing.
Various manufacturers have been toying with the idea of modular phones, including Facebook and Google apparently, and Motorola also makes some, but so far, this design hasn't been able to gain a significant amount of traction.