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We've seen the new RED holographic smartphone: A sneak peek

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 5/20/2018 Jefferson Graham and Edward C. Baig
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HOLLYWOOD — It looks like a smartphone, it acts like a smartphone, but once you see the screen, you've never seen anything like it. 

The images pop right up, like watching a big-screen 3D movie, with one big difference. You don't have to wear glasses. 

RED, the company that makes high end video cameras beloved by filmmakers, staged a sneak peek of its upcoming Hydrogen ONE smartphone for enthusiasts and the film community over the weekend, where people, for the first time, got to see the technology with their very own eyes.

No dates or pricing were announced for the phone, which is on the Android platform, but company officials said to expect the cost to be around 10% higher than the iPhone X, which starts at $999. 

"The phone is for everybody who wants to change the way they view the world," RED founder Jim Jannard told USA TODAY. "We see in multi view, yet everything we watch on our phones is in 2D. We want to change that, so you get your content in multi view."

When customers get their phones, they'll be able to shoot their own photos and videos in what RED calls the 4View mode. Watching other content will take some time. RED is setting up what it calls the Hydrogen Network as a place where studios and filmmakers can have their 3D content converted to 4view. 

RED threw some names out as potential partners at the event, including the Walt Disney Co. and Lionsgate. 

Whether consumers (who will be able to afford the phone) will be dazzled by technology touted by the hype-meisters as “retina-riveting” is no guarantee. It’s not like phones with 3D screens ever found an audience. 

For its part, Hydrogen One will have a 5.7-inch screen capable of displaying a that “4View holographic content. In theory, that means you will be able to look around, below, and even into the screen’s image. Still to be answered: how many holographic movies, games, shopping and other apps will be made available at launch, and how good will that content look?

Besides the holographic fare, the folks at RED say you’ll able to view stereo 3D content, as well as virtual reality, augmented reality, and yes, regular 2D material too.

RED claims Hydrogen One is designed for "doers, makers and content creators." Using what is being referred to as a "pogo pin system" you'll also be able to stack modules onto the device to add functionality, presumably along the lines of what Motorola does on its Moto Z smartphones with Moto Mods accessories. Again no details have been supplied, but given RED's pedigree, you can imagine modules could add new camera tech in some fashion. 

Follow USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham and Ed Baig on Twitter, @jeffersongraham @edbaig

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