It's official — after about a year or so of struggling to meet its lofty goals, noted camera manufacturer RED and its founder Jim Jannard have brought down the shutters on the RED Hydrogen smartphone, ending yet another ambitious smartphone venture that aimed to offer way more than what was probably feasible. The move comes as Jannard announced his decision to step down citing health issues, handing over the leadership of his 20-year-old company to Jarred Land, Tommy Rios and Jamin Jannard.
The RED Hydrogen One, when announced, was looked upon as a device that might just push the boundaries in terms of what mobile videography was equipped to achieve. It also flaunted a set of over the top specifications, including what it claimed was a "holographic display" on the phone. However, things never quite took off as per plan, and the lofty, $1,300 (~Rs 92,000) price tag did not help matters when RED ended up delivering to its customers a phone that was mediocre at best, with none of RED's cinema camera trickery included inside.
Earlier to this, Jannard had announced that the failure of the RED Hydrogen One was significantly to be blamed on its Chinese manufacturer, which apparently never matched the product brief. On this note, RED was said to be working on an entirely new successor to the Hydrogen One, but as of today, such plans stand cancelled (unless revived later by any of Jannard's successors).
Going by Jannard's announcement, RED will continue to support whatever remains of its smartphone user base, by offering some features out of the promised mods (which, incidentally, never made it to production). One of the starts would be the RED Komodo 6K cinema camera that Jannard announced as being launched, in the same post — while we are not clear on exactly how, the Komodo 6K will apparently feature some compatibility with the Hydrogen One.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the discontinuation of RED's smartphone plans reminds us of how other similar ventures, such as Turing Robotics' over the top creations or Google's Project ARA, never really saw the light of the day in the exact production form as was pitched.