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Red delays a phone, gives customers free $1200 phone as apology

To make up for recent delays, Red is giving away the aluminum Hydrogen One to those who pre-ordered the titanium model.

Published onSeptember 28, 2018

  • Red will not ship the titanium Hydrogen One smartphone on schedule and has apologized for the delay.
  • To make up for it, Red will give titanium Hydrogen One pre-orderers the less expensive aluminum version for free.
  • Customers will be allowed to keep both smartphones when the titanium model ships at a later date.

Red has delayed the titanium model of its Hydrogen One smartphone, and is apparently going to lengths to make up for it. The camera maker, originally set to release the model “shortly after” October 9, will give a free, aluminum Hydrogen One to those who pre-ordered the titanium (Ti) version while they wait for the more expensive unit.

The reason for the delay relates to production problems. Red’s Jim Jannard posted in Red’s forums (via GSMArena), saying the first run of the titanium Hydrogen One model had failed because it is so difficult to manufacture. Despite being told by vendors that enough devices would be produced to fulfill pre-orders, there hasn’t been.

This is the Red Hydrogen One camera app, and here's what it can do
The RED Hydrogen One

“I can’t go over there and make [the phones] myself, or I would. All I can do is do what I think is fair… as if I was the customer (sic),” wrote Jannard.

“We will send all Ti pre-orders an aluminum hydrogen 1st when we begin shipping them. Additionally, when we finally do make Ti models correctly, we will send that to you at no charge. You are allowed to keep the aluminum as well.”

The aluminum model, which went up for pre-order at $1,195, differs only from the $1,595 Titanium variant in its materials. Red hasn’t announced a new release date for Hydrogen One Ti, but we presume the aluminum model will go out sometime in October as planned.

The best delay ever?

Smartphone fans are used to delays, be it with software updates or patches; it’s a part of the landscape that many of us have grown to accept. However, Red’s latest move is, to my knowledge, unprecedented.

What makes it even more interesting is that the Hydrogen One is a crowdfunded project. Though crowdfunding is notorious for delays, they’re not known for handing out free hardware as part of an apology.

Red Hydrogen One with holographic display

The crowdfunding aspect of all this does worry me, though. As well as delays, these campaigns are also known for collapsing before any product has reached the market. Or crawling past the finish line with products in an ugly, unfinished state.

If this all works out, Red Hydrogen One titanium customers may be happy with the end result — a free phone for a (short) delay sounds like a good deal, after all.

When you’re talking crowdfunded smartphones with never-before-seen tech, though, boy is that a big “if.”

Up nextRed Hydrogen One: What we know so far

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