“It Doesn’t Look Like A Smooth Rectangle!”,
was my first reaction upon seeing the device. And that might not sound like such a big deal to you, but think about that for a moment… When was the last time a company launched a smartphone with scalloped, bumpy edges? When was the last time you saw a device that looked visually distinctive from other phones? Sure, hold an iPhone next to a Galaxy next to a Pixel and you can tell the difference, but the Red Hydrogen is still a large deviance from traditional design.
It’s also a large deviance from traditional functionality, offering a different business plan than most smartphone companies, which bank on dedicated phone-lovers replacing and upgrading their devices every so often. In fact, they bank on that so heavily that it sometimes comes at the detriment to users who are looking to stay with a single phone for longer than three years, as the company will continually release newer and more advanced software updates – with a catch: The new software is mostly designed for and tested on the newest devices, so if you don’t have that device, expect the lag to start setting in really quickly.
And while some companies (Especially those higher up on the alphabet) rely more heavily on this model than others, this is one of the biggest truths that smartphones businesses try so hard to hide: Most smartphones aren’t built to last. These companies make more money the more phones you buy, and they release new models every few years, so clearly they’re made to be replaceable and upgradable.
But Red Hydrogen does things a little bit differently. When you buy a Red Hydrogen, it’s not the phone that will soon need a replacement – It’s everything else. Red Hydrogen is a very modular device and emphasizes this as one of the primary focuses of its design.
Looking for a longer battery life? Use a larger battery! A better camera? Traditional camera add-ons can be easily adapted to the phone’s structure. Looking for holographic 3D video display? Funny you ask – It’s got that too. Granted, it’s not full, out-of-the-phone 3D holographic display, but its still an interesting effect that adds depth to images on-screen, which is a lot more than you can say for, um, any other smartphone.
Unfortunately, there aren’t really any videos of the holographic screen that really capture what it can do. There’s this concept video, but that’s more of a neat 3D animation than actual footage. To clarify: This is not because the holo-screen ‘isn’t that good’ or something like that, it’s because holographic tech like this is designed to produce a 3D effect based on how the human eye perceives an image, and if I was to record that effect with a video camera and post it on Youtube, the effect would be totally lost.
But according to coverage of the product from Cnet, the phone’s makers still have one major challenge to face: They need to find some way to show off the holographic feature to consumers. Bear in mind: While the Red Hydrogen is very impressive, at $1,200, it’s not cheap. So in order to convince customers to drop that much on an unproven product, creators need to establish partnerships with major carriers Verizon and AT&T and encourage those companies to put the phone on the front display so that they can get onlookers to experience the phone’s biggest instant-sell effect – An effect that can’t be seen in video advertisements.
So it’s a bit of a leap of faith for the consumer, but that’s nothing compared to all the leaps made by the phone’s developers. The result is a product that’s crazy cool, and quite possibly the first “Hey-Dude-Check-Out-My-Cool-New-Phone” level device the industry has seen in the past decade.
Photo via Red Hydrogen official website.