The original Hydrogen phone had a lot of people excited, as it was coming from world-renowned camera company RED. However, the finished product was disappointing for many reasons: the 3D screen mostly served as a gimmick, the module ecosystem never materialized, the camera wasn’t anything special, and so on. Now RED has cancelled plans for a second phone as its founder leaves the company.
Jim Jannard, founder of RED, posted the below statement to the Hydrogen user forum:
I have spent the past 45 years building “inventions wrapped in art”.
Just now turning 70 and having a few health issues, it is now time for me to retire.
I will be shutting down the HYDROGEN project, ending a career that has included Oakley, RED Digital Cinema and HYDROGEN. I am very proud to have worked with many great people over the years who have signed on to the vision.
RED Digital Cinema will continue stronger than ever with Jarred, Tommy and Jamin at the controls. Komodo is about to be launched… and the HYDROGEN One will continue to be supported in the future.
I want to thank everyone for the support I have felt over the years…
This comes after Jannard released a statement in March saying the Hydrogen program was under ‘rapid changes,’ with a “new in-device image capture system” supposedly in the works. In July, a second model was announced, alongside an 8K camera module.
While less competition in the flagship market is never a good thing, RED never seemed to grow a customer base outside its existing camera fanbase. The extremely high entry price of the Hydrogen One and only having AT&T as a carrier partner likely didn’t help matters either.