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The most mysterious Android phone of the year is coming to Verizon and AT&T

Updated May 17th, 2018 12:35PM EDT
RED Hydrogen One Release Date
Image: RED

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If you’re shopping Android this year, you’ve already got a decent selection of phones to choose from. The Galaxy S9, Huawei P20 Pro, and OnePlus 6 are out or will be soon, and they represent the best of what Android has to offer right now. The Pixel 3 and Note 9, coming in the second half of the year, are also highly anticipated.

Most Android phones this year are either rehashes of last year’s best Samsung phones or iPhone X clones. But there is one Android phone that’s unlike anything we’ve seen, and it finally has the backing of a major carrier.

Verizon on Thursday announced that the first holographic phone in the world, the RED Hydrogen One, is going to be available to subscribers later this year. The carrier didn’t specify a firm release date (and the first RED phone is delayed as it is), but it certainly looks like the Hydrogen One is going to soon be available in stores.

Coming from a company that’s known for its camera business, the Hydrogen phone looked like vaporware when it was first announced last August. That’s because the phone is supposed to be the world’s first holographic phone, a device that would offer users 3D-like experiences without glasses.

That’s something not available on any other handset right now, whether they run iOS or Android. Apple, for what it’s worth, has patents detailing holographic screens. But RED is actually making and releasing one.

The Hydrogen One is supposed to be a 5.7-inch device featuring high-end specs and design, as well as some sort of Moto Z-like modularity. You’d be able to add modules to your phone to improve certain features, a trick mentioned in Verizon’s announcement as well.

In addition to the phone, RED is also launching its 4-view Hydrogen content network. Reports a few weeks ago said the phone has been delayed to August, and RED founder Jim Jannard confirmed that designing such a phone is tricky because nobody really knows how to do 4-view displays on anything before:

We have never built a phone. No one ever tried to integrate a 4-view display in anything before. When we started this project, we didn’t know any cell carriers or anything about the cell phone industry. When we launch… the product won’t be complete. There will be more firmware/software updates than any other phone ever made. We are learning as we go. Truly, we have no business entering this market.

Verizon’s vice president, device and consumer product marketing, Brian Higgins calls the phone a “game changer:”

RED Hydrogen One was designed with cutting-edge technology that simply can’t be described — you have to hold it in your hands and experience it yourself to understand why this is such a mobile game changer. A phone like this deserves the best network in the country, which is why we can’t wait to bring it to Verizon customers later this year.

You can sign up to be notified when Verizon will have the Hydrogen One in stores at this link.

UPDATE: Not to be outdone, AT&T also announced plans to carry the phone, without revealing a release date. Unlike Verizon, AT&T is ready to let you try the phone yourself, as long as you’re willing to go AT&T Shape at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles on either June 2nd or June 3rd. More information is available here.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.