Powerful. Ambitious. Extravagant. These were some of the words RED would have wanted people to think of when describing the Hydrogen One. Instead, most people were left calling the phone and its launch schedule overpriced, underwhelming, and tumultuous. Our review was certainly less than favorable. In a new post by the founder, Jim Jannard, most of the shortcomings of the Hydrogen One can be attributed to problems with their ODM (original design manufacturer). However, they have a new ODM and work has begun on the Hydrogen Two, along with the long-awaited 8K add-on camera module.
According to Jannard, the original ODM for the Hydrogen One failed to deliver a design with the planned specifications or fix known issues during development. The experience resulted in finding a new partner to develop the company's next phone. No details were given for the Hydrogen Two, but the post did promise it has been redesigned from the ground up and would exceed expectations.
The long-awaited 8K camera module is also in development, but it will be taking a different course. Instead of leaving it to the original ODM or putting it in the hands of the new one, RED will be developing that module in-house under the name "Komodo." Additional details are forthcoming, but Jannard confirmed this module will be compatible with both the Hydrogen One and Hydrogen Two, and it will be substantially improved over the original design.
To cap the post, Jannard ensured original Hydrogen One owners could expect "significant" discounts on both the Hydrogen Two and the camera module, and that they would get priority when the new hardware begins shipping.
The reputation of RED's cinema cameras can surely carry a second run at a phone, and maybe the 8K camera module will be good enough to justify the phones for the right audience, but RED may have to work pretty hard to restore faith after the first Hydrogen phone. Placing the lion's share of blame on the ODM may explain flaws in the original, but not why the phone wasn't delayed to switch to a new ODM. If nothing else, this will be an interesting situation to watch.
- Jim Jannard (H4V forum)
- The Verge