Professional camera maker RED made a surprise announcement earlier this year that it would be developing a smartphone carrying an undisclosed holographic display called the Hydrogen One. Physical prototypes were shared through YouTuber Marques Brownlee, but unfortunately no view of the smartphone's display and no further details were available at the time.
Now the technology behind the cutting edge display type has been discovered. A RED partnership with startup Leia Inc. will bring the displays to market. Leia was created in 2014 from HP's research labs and calls itself "the leading provider of lightfield holographic display solutions for mobile". As part of the exclusive partnership, RED has agreed to make an investment of an undisclosed sum in Leia.
The display works by projecting light that is only visible from certain viewing angles, providing a 3D appearance. While the images displayed are still not sci-fi quality holograms, there are interesting possibilities for how the technology could be implemented. Leia has a partnership with Synaptics which likely indicates some sort of above screen finger tracking could take place to allow interaction with 3D objects.
Leia's new display concept is a standard LCD panel with additional nanostructures layered in to cause diffraction of light. Leia claims the addition of an extra layer of material in the display does not negatively impact power consumption or overall brightness.
Unless RED decides to reveal more information on the holographic display, we'll have to wait for the launch of the Hydrogen One to see it in person sometime in 2018.