The high-end camera manufacturer Rot entered the smartphone market at the end of 2018 with the introduction of the Red Hydrogen One. The $ 1,300 phone was certainly unique with its signature industrial design, side grips, carbon backplate and titanium or aluminum body. However, the wild design was not enough to create a compelling smartphone package, and now Red's outspoken founder Jim Jannard has gone into the forums to talk about what went wrong. Jannard blamed Red's development and manufacturing partner for the failure of the Hydrogen One and made big promises for an upcoming "Hydrogen Two" phone.
"We selected an ODM in China to prepare the Hydrogen One for production at Foxconn," Jannard wrote. "While Foxconn was fantastic, our ODM [Original Design Manufacturer]which was responsible for the mechanical packaging of our design, including new technologies, and all the software integration with the Qualcomm processor, has declined significantly and we have brought our ODM in China to end this . " Dedicated functions and the elimination of known problems with the Hydrogen One have proven to be extremely difficult. Actually impossible. "
It's an interesting strategy to blame ODM for the problems of Hydrogen One. The biggest complaints about the first red phone were not that it was poorly designed or built, but that the basic structure of the phone did not offer convincing features over a normal smartphone. Red is an ultra-high-end camera manufacturer, but none of its camera technology has made it into Hydrogen One, which used a commercially available camera sensor. The phone should have a modular camera system, but never delivered. The red phone featured 3D screen technology, but did not provide a convincing illusion of a third dimension. What was it about this bulky, ugly phone with outdated hardware?
Red, however, does not stop a single mistake from building more smartphones. "We started working on Hydrogen Two," Jannard said. The phone will be "built from scratch, with a new ODM that can significantly enhance and support the product we (and our customer) demand." Jannard told customers burned by Hydrogen One, "We fully understand the frustrations of our customers." After blaming Red for ODM again, Jannard said that Hydrogen One customers will receive "preferential treatment" regarding "delivery allocations and pricing" for the new phone.
For the modular system, Red had originally promised to deliver three separate modules by 2019: a power supply, a memory expansion module and a cinema-quality camera module. All mentions of these modules were removed from the Red website in March, and today only a new, different camera module was mentioned. Jannard once again blamed Red's ODM for the module issues and said, "We finally found that the original camera module had to be changed because our ODM would not competently complete the module they had chosen and guaranteed." Red is currently building a new modular camera system in-house. Jannard states that the work on the sensor is "completed" and promises to communicate details about the module "Komodo" soon.
It is still unclear how exactly Red should assess his position on the smartphone market. Jannard opened his post by complaining about the difficulty of building a smartphone in China, saying that using the standard Red Factory system in California "was simply not possible given the competitive nature of the market." What "competition" does Jannard have for the Red Telephone? Has Red ever tried to compete with mainstream smartphones with a gigantic modular smartphone made of titanium and carbon fiber? The Red Phone always seemed to be either a niche platform for industrial cameras in the form of a smartphone and / or a luxury niche object for people who would like to spend $ 20,000 on a red camera. Either way, it does not seem like the "competition" of the smartphone should be a big problem. At least, one has to hope that this time Red integrates some of his camera technologies into his smartphone.
Listing image by Red