back to article Moto claims Android cameraphone first

Motorola has introduced the first Android 2.1 smartphone... with a xenon flash. A boon to mobile phone photography fans, to be sure, but a clear sign it's getting harder for phone firms to come up with USPs for their products. Motorola XT720 Still, the XT720 has an impressive spec: a 8Mp camera, 480p video capture …


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  1. handle

    Lack of xenon flashes in cameraphones

    I did wonder why there aren't many phones with xenon flashes. I guess there could be several reasons for this:

    - accommodating the large capacitor

    - the safety issue of a large capacitor charged to a few hundred volts waiting to be dropped in the toilet and fished out again

    - the RF interference from a large capacitor effectively being short-circuited when the tube fires potentially frying one of the radio receivers. I guess there could be quite a lot of RFI generated while it is being charged, too, and that could go on for several seconds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      LED flashes are cheaper....

      That is VERY important when making phones.

    2. Frank Long

      Because I must have a title, I've entered this.

      Having designed Xenon camera flashes into mobile phones in the past, there are two other problems with them. The first is their power supplies, they're terribly fiddly.

      The second is the triggering, CMOS cameras suffer from "shutter" lag. Makes the coordination between pic and flash more awkward.

      Oh yes, the side is a massive issue too. I'm not sure people quite grasp how much work goes into making their phones svelte. The tyranny of thin applies to electronic components too...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wot no 720p?

    Most other new camera phones over the next year will have 720p/1080p encoding - why have they gone with 480p? (see Nokia N8, Instinct II, Omnia for a few)

    Unless they just want to complete with the iPhone of course.

    1. Magnus Ramage

      Flash capabilities

      Well it competes very well with the iPhone, if it can access Flash.


  3. Giles Jones Gold badge


    The only times a decent photographer uses flash is:

    1. Outdoor as a fill in flash (reduced power flash to reduce shadows).

    2. In a studio, proper flash guns with umbrellas.

    3. With a diffuser with the flash bounced off the ceiling when very desperate to get a photo.

    All other uses typically give you a pretty poor result.

    Paparazzi use flash, but they're not photographers, they don't care for quality or art, it's all about getting a photo of someone regardless.

    Stand in front of a car headlight on full beam to see what flash style lighting does for you, then contrast that will outside in the sun.

    1. OkKTY8KK5U

      Re Flash?

      I wholeheartedly agree with everything you just said, but I'm pretty sure a decent photographer looking for a decent photograph does not use a cameraphone, no matter how good that cameraphone is.

      No matter what the press releases say, I'm reasonably sure this is just so you can take better - not good, better - photographs in dark locations than you can with an LED flash, and the general goal is posting online somewhere rather than selling to a glossy fashion magazine.

    2. James Hughes 1

      and the majority

      of camera phone pictures are taken in low light conditions, by people who are not professional photographers.

      So, your point was?

  4. JaitcH

    I want a telephone, not another camera

    Puhlease, let cameras take pictures and cell phones make calls.

    I know of know of no camera that can make calls. There must be a reason.

    1. Jerome 0
      Thumb Up

      You got it!

      "Puhlease, let cameras take pictures and cell phones make calls."

      Guess what - cameras take pictures and cell phones make calls. You've got your wish! As an added bonus, cell phones can take half-decent pictures too. Pretty handy, huh?

      "I know of know of no camera that can make calls. There must be a reason."

      Because then it'd be called a cell phone.

  5. Conrad Longmore
    Thumb Up

    Nice, but..

    Very nice, but I think that the HTC Desire is just a bit nicer to use than the current Milestone.. I suspect that this will be the case with with XT720 as well. I do note that Moto aren't saying what the processor speed is, so I guess it's still the 600 MHz one used in the MOTOROI and Milestone.

    1. Philippe

      it's a Motorola it will fail

      Strange as nobody seems to mention the fact that Moto has lost all credibility and Shine long ago in any markets.

      Today people who wants an Android phone will get an HTC.

      Craporola forever...

  6. Ben Rosenthal

    much as I love

    extras and toys from my phone, the camera has always been way down on the list, mainly for the above mentioned shutter lag and lack of decent flash......and the just not being too bothered about taking pictures generally :D

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