By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
The Japanese news agency Nikkei is running a story that Foxconn Technology Group, the assemblers of the iPhone and other Apple products, is seeking to branch out and enter the digital cinema camera market. And they want to do it with RED.
Major iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn Technology Group, said on Sunday that it plans to team up with premium camera maker RED Digital Cinema to make professional-quality and affordable film cameras for the general public, while expanding into the manufacture of semiconductors for displays and cameras. – Nikkei
Deriving over 50% of its revenue from building iPhones, iPads and even desktop iMacs, Foxconn is now seeking to diversify. The company is already breaking ground for a display panel factory in the US, China and India, but it also wants to expand into providing lower cost cinema camera options to the masses.
“We will make cameras that will shoot professional-quality films in 8K resolution, but at only a third of current prices and a third of current camera sizes,” Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou told reporters in Taipei following the company’s annual employee party before the Chinese New Year.
Foxconn also wants to build these cameras with RED, since the company’s Super 35 Helium processor is giving filmmakers a great 8K image but with a smaller camera footprint. The company currently builds RED’s ASIC LSI circuits, and now they are looking to build on that relationship with a prosumer line of cinema cameras. But would red be willing to undercut it’s Helium market for a camera that costs a third the price?
Well, maybe. RED has been selling their 4.5K RED Raven in the Apple Store, so there is an interest in offering higher end Cinema camera options at a high end consumer level. Moreover, if you want to get users into the RED ecosystem earlier, it makes sense to offer a lower priced cinema camera that has a similar workflow.
But a lower cost 8K model? I’m not so sure about that. Yeah, while I think that’s what Foxconn would like as the best of all possible worlds, but the general public is just now making it’s way into 4K, so I’m not sure that we’ll see a REDConn 8K camera for under $2000 any time soon.
But by 2020, when the Olympics are being broadcast in 8K out in the clear, we may actually see 8K hitting the lower end market. So why wouldn’t RED want to get ahead of that power curve? RED also has the same kind of devoted clientele like Apple making a tempting allure for Foxconn to court.
Consequently, whether RED wants to be a part of the new initiative or not, Foxconn has a clear vision of where to go next. By then, who knows what resolutions we’ll see from the higher end RED platforms? 12 or 16K? This is all early in the discussion phase, but it’s surely going to be something to pay close attention to as time goes on.