Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Wednesday, July 24, 2019!

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1. There’s a sequel to one of the worst smartphones of all

RED Hydrogen One Review

RED’s Hydrogen One phone, released in November last year, was an unmitigated disaster. 

  • The phone had plenty of interest and hype, with press keen to see a phone with new ideas.
  • On release, it then cratered: receiving reviews like “the worst tech product of 2018” from Mashable.
  • While it wasn’t a good phone, with a crummy display, bad battery life, and older specs, the wildest part is that it was priced like it was made out of gold: starting at $1295.

And while it’s fun to dunk on Red, most of all the phone was disappointing. People wanted the Hydrogen One to be good; it tried to do innovative things. It ended up being more of a version 1 concept phone that was to be avoided

Yet RED isn’t giving up! There’s a Hydrogen Two phone in the works.


  • RED founder Jim Jannard (also the founder of Oakley sunglasses) wrote a fascinating forum post that pulled back the curtain.
  • Jannard blamed an unnamed Chinese original design manufacturer (ODM) for all kinds of issues, while praising Foxconn, the assembler which also puts together iPhones.
  • “…our ODM which was responsible for the mechanical packaging of our design including new technologies along with all software integration with the Qualcomm processor, has significantly under-performed,” wrote Jannard.
  • “Getting our ODM in China to finish the committed features and fix known issues on the HYDROGEN One has proven to be beyond challenging. Impossible actually. This has been irritating me to death and flooding our reactor”.
  • (I do not know what “flooding our reactor” means. This may be the first time anyone has written those three words together on the internet.)
  • Jannard goes on: “For this reason, after months of vetting a new design to manufacture house, we have begun the work on the HYDROGEN Two, virtually from scratch, at a new ODM that is clearly more capable of building and supporting the product we (and our customers) demand.”
  • The post goes on to mention that the promised camera module for the phone, which never appeared, is being redesigned as well.
  • So… it seems that at least one reason we will see a Hydrogen Two is that Jannard won’t just wave the white flag and let it die. Is this ill-advised?
  • Perhaps it doesn’t matter. You can try again when you have a net worth of $3 billion, even when you shouldn’t.
  • But we’ll give the Hydrogen Two a fair chance, should it be vastly improved. Please amaze us, RED.

2. Significant: Justice Department announces broad antitrust review of Big Tech (The Verge).

3. Google leaks Nest Hub Max release date, now set for September (Android Authority).

4. Three iPhone 11/XI models coming in September, with three cameras on the back (9to5Mac). Also, Apple denies favoring its own apps over competitors’ in App Store search results (The Verge).

5. Snapchat is out of the doldrums! It had more than 200 million daily users last quarter, up 8%. Still losing money, though. (Engadget). Facebook and Tesla release their earnings later today.

6. Finally, DoorDash caught enough heat to make it change its policy: tips made in the app will now go to delivery workers rather than go to DoorDash (Engadget). Exact details are unclear, but good journalism wins here I think?

7. The man who built Twitter’s retweet button has regret (BuzzFeed).

8. Craig from Craigslist is ready to change the world (CNET).

9. Steer clear of Libra Cryptocurrency scams (Lifehacker).

10. Project Loon has been in the sky for 1 million hours and flown 40 million kilometers, and has insights to share (Medium). Absolute must read if you think you might be interested in atmospheric winds.

11. Animals can’t adapt fast enough to climate change (Wired).

12. “How do you stop being a lazy useless piece of sh-t?” (r/askreddit). An aggressive title of a useful Reddit thread to try and force yourself to get more done. We’ll have more on productivity come Friday!

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