Jim Jannard has announced his retirement from RED Digital Cinema, due to health reasons. In the same post, he announced that RED is killing the Hydrogen One project.
Hydrogen was RED's venture into mobile. The Hydrogen One was supposed to be a phone, a powerful tool for filmmakers, and at the same time, an innovative new content creation platform. The Hydrogen One has a holographic screen and a camera that shoots 4-view 3D content. This phone was not very well reviewed when it came out. It seemed hard to market because the holographic effect did not photograph well. Mashable named it the worst tech product of 2018.
Early in 2019, RED fired their Chinese ODM (original design manufacturer) for having "significantly under-performed." The plan was to take the design in house to ensure better quality. The rumor was that there would be a DSLR type attachment for the phone. The Hydrogen is a carbon fiber tank with connections on the outside of the body for additional high tech accessories. But nothing like that ever materialized. Failure by the ODM to produce these accessories was a big reason for the firing.
RED was also hoping to start a new social media platform based on sharing 4-view content. My guess is this ambition will not get anywhere now because there won't be any new users unless another company continues down the 4-view road. There could be Hydrogen One users out in the world posting 4-view selfies. However, I haven’t seen it yet.
Honestly, I am saddened by this news. Jim Jannard is a very innovative guy who changed the media industry by creating video cameras that produce moving images very close to still photography. I hope he gets back to being healthy soon. Also, I was excited about the possibility of holographic screens and cameras. I hope this technology goes somewhere, but I'm not holding my breath. I hope someone picks up Jannard's mantel because our industry needs people like him to push the boundaries of images. For now, I will turn my Hydrogen 2 Google alert off.
RED will continue to service Hydrogen One users.