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RED Hydrogen One Update: Surprise, It’s Delayed, but for Good Reasons

RED Hydrogen

In July of 2017, RED announced Hydrogen One, its state of the art smartphone running Android. Pre-orders went up, with shipment of the device scheduled for Q1, 2018. This past January, RED stated they were now shooting for a summer of 2018 launch.

It’s May now, which means we must be getting close to launch, right? In my writeup last year, I specifically mentioned, “I wouldn’t be surprised if RED comes into unforeseen issues along the line. There could even be delays.”

Unfortunately for everyone who preordered this phone, I was right.

Detailed back in mid-April, but oddly not circulated heavily in the Android news realm until now, RED disclosed that it has delayed the launch of Hydrogen One, at least until August. I mention at least because RED says, “The final date will be determined by the carriers and announced as soon as they make the call.”

RED goes into great detail explaining the cause of the delay, and from a buyer’s standpoint, there is a solid explanation, one that should benefit buyers in the long run.

When we announced, you needed a module to shoot 4V with the HYDROGEN ONE. The module was going to have multiple cameras for realtime 4V and was going to sell for about $750-$1000.

A few months ago we added 3D cameras front and back to HYDROGEN so you could shoot 3D and convert to 4V without a module. Processing to 4V needed the cloud, your computer or was done VERY SLOWLY on your phone. Much better than a module but still not ideal.

Now, with a lot of hardware and software work (which created a good portion of the delay)… you shoot 4V realtime on the phone both sides. You monitor your cameras in 4V. You can Face Chat in 4V realtime. You can post 4V immediately. When you shoot, you also get a companion 2D file in your gallery. Of course, you can still select and shoot just 2D.

According to RED, the development for all of this took extra time, including supply chain adjustments. In short, while the launch will take a bit longer than what was originally expected, it should payoff for buyers. When it comes to launching a new product, I think that’s what truly matters, not meeting projected timetables. Plus, if we’re being technical, August is still summer, so RED is doing okay.

As for the carriers and their certification process, this is where RED loses me a bit. RED doesn’t go into as great of detail with this aspect, but here’s what they say.

Carrier certification. This is also a big one. This takes more time than we previously thought. Additionally, we are preparing to launch with multiple carriers and organizing a simultaneous launch has proven to be pretty tricky.

This past January, RED’s expected carrier support was self described as “unprecedented” and, “as good as it gets.” With words like that, we’re expecting full carrier support with all of the LTE bands one may need and RED specifically mentions they intend to launch with multiple carriers simultaneously. Does that mean they intend to partner with carriers to sell the device directly to consumers or do they intend on offering a single unlocked phone at the same time, with support for all carriers via a single sales channel, such as their website? RED’s terminology is a bit confusing, so your guess is as good as ours. Furthermore, even larger phone makers like HTC have a hard time getting US carriers to sell its devices, so it’s very hard to imagine Verizon or AT&T ponying up retail or even online space for RED.

Regardless, RED’s plan is incredibly ambitious, especially for a phone that likely won’t push too many units compared to a Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone. I mean, the cheapest option is listed at $1300, which is well beyond what most folks would consider dropping on a phone.

Do we have anyone here patiently awaiting their Hydrogen One? Are you okay with a delay, so long as you get a better product in the end?

// RED

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