P.S. We're told this handset is closer to the Motoroi than anything else, Motorola describes them as sister devices. We also spotted a network update from Orange on the demo handset, implicating it as a possible carrier for the XT720 in the UK.
Update: We've now got Motorola's full press release plus a promo video after the break, as well as some comparison pics between this new handset and the original Milestone in the second gallery below.
Update 2: And we've just added our hands-on impressions and video, you know where to find them.
Motorola Milestone XT720 hands-onSee all photos
Motorola Milestone XT720 compared to original Milestone / DroidSee all photos
Okay, so Motorola's big push here is "real world performance," meaning that we shouldn't just report the cold hard specs but also note how swift and buttery-smooth the XT720 is in use. Which tends to be exactly what people say when they're trying to promote a 550MHz processor in a gigahertz world. But let's not be too hasty here, it's quite true that the stock Android 2.1 ran without any hitches while we were playing with this new Milestone, and Moto is confident enough to say that this handset is "Flash 10.1-ready," suggesting Froyo is going to come out of the pantry at some point. Determining whether these claims stand up to scrutiny will require us spending some more quality time with the XT720.
One thing we can say already, though, is that the ergonomics of the phone feel all wrong. The surface of the touchscreen had too much friction to it, preventing the featherlight swipes that characterize the finest devices in this class, and the redundant protrusion on the lower right of the phone also doesn't help things. You'll see both problems in our hands-on video below -- sure, we're clumsy at the best of times, but the XT720 didn't help one-handed operation with its odd shape. Then there's also -- a more aesthetic concern here -- the fact that the front and back parts seem to have been designed by different teams. The matte blue backplate is in the spirit of the Droid, dominated by angles and straight lines, while the front end exhibits curves, a glossy metallic surround, and an ultra-glossy display. Go figure.
The overall vibe we got from this meetup was one of mild disappointment -- many of us have been breathing heavily in anticipation of a keyboard-less Droid, but if this is the best Moto can do, we'll just have to look elsewhere. The XT720 is 10.9mm thick to the Droid's 13.7mm, but as you can see in our comparison gallery, that's not really a tangible difference when you look at the two phones side by side ... in the real world.
Either way, this blast from the xenon flash future is coming at us fast, with pre-orders starting from online retailers like Play and Expansys on June 11, and carrier announcements set to follow swiftly. We've already mentioned Orange as a pretty likely candidate, and the XT720's spec sheet also throws up 1700/2100 3G frequencies, which makes it compatible with T-Mobile's network in the USA -- should Moto decide to visit the phone upon its home market. [Thanks, tnkgrl]
BASINGSTOKE, UK – June 7, 2010 – Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) today announced MILESTONE™ XT720, one of the world's slimmest 8 Megapixel Android™ smartphones and the first to have a Xenon Flash.
This sleek (10.9mm), capacitive touch Android 2.1 phone also features a high definition (HD) video experience and enhanced media and mobile internet capabilities for users who expect the latest in technology and the ultimate smartphone experience.
Ralf Gerbershagen, vice president and general manager for Motorola's Mobile Devices business in Western Europe said, "MILESTONE XT720 is one of the most powerful phones in Motorola's current smartphone range. Slim, sophisticated and technically savvy, MILESTONE XT720 is a high performance device designed for those who are actively engaged in both their work and social lives.
"With MILESTONE XT720, Motorola has taken yet another step towards eliminating the barriers for consumers to creating and consuming media on the go."
Enhanced Digital Camera & Video
MILESTONE XT720 breaks new ground for Android smartphones by offering an 8 megapixel camera with Xenon flash, 10x digital zoom, and a 720p HD camcorder. It allows users to not only capture, view and share high quality photos and videos, but also helps make them look better than ever. Key features include:
• Smart image capture: includes easy panorama, face detection, multi-shot (six shots in a row), face filter, red eye reduction, camera shake prevention and more, to improve the image quality and variety
• High definition multimedia interface (HDMI™): HDMI cable (in box) allows HD video captured on the MILESTONE XT720 to be viewed directly on an HDTV
• Memory card support: 8GB microSD card included inbox; expandable up to 32GB
Designed For Mobile Internet
MILESTONE™ XT720 is designed to deliver high speed web-browsing and it has the capacity to support up to eight open browser windows. The huge 3.7 inch, WVGA (480X854) display shows full page websites, videos, games, or photos in glorious detail.
Taking full advantage of the power of Android 2.1, the display uses a powerful combination of Motorola's touch user interface (UI) and a capacitive touch sensor for smooth screen flipping and scrolling, and up to five customisable home screens.
A suite of Google™ mobile applications including Google Search™, Google Maps™, Gmail™ and YouTube™ are also integrated onto the device, as well as Motorola's MOTONAV turn by turn navigation1.
Advanced Mobile Office
MILESTONE XT720 supports management of multiple accounts and document editing to ensure efficiency and true multi-tasking on the go.
• Synchronise and manage multiple email accounts simultaneously, letting you separate your work and personal inboxes
• Gmail contacts sync: synchronise contacts from the accounts that are added on the device.
MILESTONE XT720 provides easy access to thousands of apps available on Android Market™ and has the processing power to ensure your favourites run swiftly and smoothly.
For more information about availability, please contact your local Motorola representative.
To learn more about the device visit YouTube™ or www.motorola.com/milestoneXT720. For more information and a full list of product specifications and features, please visit www.motorola.com/mediacenter.