The high-end camera maker Red stepped into the smartphone market in late 2018 with the launch of the Red Hydrogen One. The $1,300 phone was unique, featuring Red’s trademark industrial design, molded finger grips on the side, a carbon fiber backplate, and either an aluminum or titanium body. The wild design was not enough to develop a compelling smartphone package, although, and now Red’s outspoken founder, Jim Jannard, has taken to the corporate’s forums to speak about what went wrong. Jim Jannard blamed Red’s design and manufacturing partner for the failure of the Hydrogen One, and he made big promises for a forthcoming “Hydrogen Two” phone.
“We chose an ODM in China to organize the Hydrogen One for manufacture at Foxconn,” Jim Jannard wrote. “While Foxconn has been fantastic, our ODM [Original Design Manufacturer], which was liable for the mechanical packaging of our design together with new technologies along with all software integration with the Qualcomm processor, has considerably underperformed. Getting our Original Design Manufacturer in China to finish the committed features and repair known issues on the Hydrogen One has confirmed to be beyond challenging. Impossible actually.”
Blaming the Original Design Manufacturer for the woes of the Hydrogen One is an interesting technique. The largest complaints about the first Red phone weren’t that it was shoddily built or designed; however, that the basic outline of the phone did not offer any compelling features over a standard smartphone. Red is an ultra-high-end camera firm. However, none of its camera technology made it into the Hydrogen One, which used an off-the-shelf camera sensor. The phone was supposed to have a modular camera system. However, that never shipped. The Red phone had 3D screen technology, but it did not offer a compelling illusion of a third dimension.