Is new Motorola handset a milestone for Android?

June 7, 2010

Is new Motorola handset a milestone for Android?Motorola has unveiled what is arguably the most impressive Android phone to date. The Milestone includes an 8-megapixel camera and an HD video camera.

The phone is formally titled the Milestone XT720. The extra characters (which presumably refer to the 720 pixel video capability) is relevant to distinguish it from the Droid, which was marketed outside the US under the Milestone name.

As with the Droid, there’s a touchscreen and customizable home screens. It ships with Android 2.1 (with no need for a software update) and is slimmer than both the Droid and iPhone at 10.9mm.

Though the phone has a 480×584 resolution screen, the video camera records in HD and can play back directly on an HD TV screen through an HDMI cable. That said, even if the shipped 8GB memory card is replaced by the maximum 32GB, recording in full HD is probably going to be more for clips than shooting your own feature films.

The stills camera is the most notable feature of the handset, incorporating a Xenon flash. That’s more powerful than the flashes on most cameraphones, meaning it will work better over long distances or in poor lighting conditions.

It also incorporates a 10x digital zoom and various “smart image capture” techniques such as face detection, automatically taking up to six consecutive shots from a single button click, and auto-adjustment to reduce the effects of camera shake.

There’s no official word on pricing or availability at the moment. However, the launch came via the United Kingdom and it may well debut there first; one report has it that pre-orders in the UK will start on Friday.

By the looks of things, this could well be the handset to get if camera and video features are particularly important to you. That said, it’s questionable how many people take such an attitude, so this could be a profitable niche rather than mainstream handset.

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