Move Over iPhone. Here Comes the Motorola Milestone

by Jeff Wiener on March 10, 2010

When it comes to new phones, I’ve seen it all, and my traditional thought process has always been that it would take a miracle for me to even consider switching from my iPhone. There simply isn’t anything out there that rivals the iPhone for its seamless functionality and sheer beauty…until I received the Motorola Milestone.

Motorola contacted me several weeks ago asking if I would be interested in a free Motorola Milestone phone with one month of Telus email and Internet access included. Oh, and I get to keep the phone. It didn’t take me long to accept their offer, I mean, who could say no to that?

 I’m happy to say that the device has arrived, and while I’m not sure I’m prepared to throw out my iPhone just yet, the Motorola Milestone is one of those few devices that is certainly tempting me to do so, if it wasn’t for that long term contract I’d already signed with Rogers.

This was also my first experience with Google’s revolutionary Android operating system, so it was as much an opportunity to explore this new OS as it was an opportunity to play with the Motorola Milestone. Not only is the phone an aesthetically beautiful device to look at, it’s functionally on par with the iPhone (and even exceeds it in some areas), and it’s really fun to use.

Keyboard

One of the chief complaints I hear from Blackberry users about the iPhone is that the touchscreen keyboard is difficult to use, and I couldn’t agree more; the iPhone keyboard is simply terrible. Notably, the feature that stands out most on the Milestone is the inclusion of a decent-sized QWERTY keyboard. Simply flip the device on its side and you have instant access to a keyboard with real buttons, a feature that makes typing infinitely easier that on the iPhone.

Screen

For awhile now, I thought nothing would exceed the sharpness and clarity of the iPhone display…until I met the Milestone. While I’m not normally this effusive or glowing about a product, there’s not much I can say about the screen except…Wow! Motorola has clearly topped the field with the richness and clarity that users will experience with the Milestone, and the eye-popping clarity and super-enhanced resolution are simply second to none.

Camera

While internal cameras are nowhere near the quality of stand-alone cameras in terms of picture quality or boot-up speed, the Milestone camera is a great start. With a quality zoom feature and a dual LED flash, takes great pictures, and clearly exceeds the iPhone’s camera… or anything else on the market for that matter.

Google Marketplace

One of the spectacular successes of the iPhone has been its App store, and although Motorola doesn’t have its own App store, Google certainly does. The ‘Market’ icon takes you into the Google App world, where you’ll find thousands of applications available for download right at your fingertips. The store principally functions the same as the App store on the iPhone—access the store, click on the app, click download, wait about 30 seconds, and its there.

I was able to find most of my current apps in the Google App store. Weather, flight info, sports, business, you name it, Google has it. The only problem, at present, is that Google doesn’t offer their paid apps in the App store. You can only access the free applications for now, although that is expected to change in the very near future.

Android OS

As far as the Android operating system is concerned, it’s actually quite similar to the iPhone OS; enough so that I now understand why Apple is suing Motorola/Google over copyright infringement. Some of the features that the Milestone has in common with the iPhone include:

  • The pinch to shrink/expand the screen
  • Moveable App icons
  • Finger swipe to view pictures

Yet I can’t help but feel that the Android OS still needs some work. Although it can do everything that the iPhone can, it feels devoid of its own brand. Simply put, it lacks identity. While I’m not sure I can put it into words, the iPhone has an experience. It looks consistent, feels beautiful, and provides a singular, homogenous Apple experience throughout.

The Android OS, on the other hand, lacks that sense of personality, that unique quality that users get when they use the iPhone. This lack of identity isn’t Motorola’s fault, and I still like the Milestone phone more that the iPhone. Google’s operating system, however, is simply not quite there yet, but it’s certainly on its way.

Despite the above, my overall impression of the Motorola Milestone has been excellent. The phone itself is rugged and functional, yet stylish and refined. I was able to boot up the phone for the first time and gain access to my calendar and emails inside ten minutes, and was able to fully configure the phone, take pictures, and download apps from the Google App store in under an hour. Even my son, the most honest product critic I’ve ever met, really liked it, and he firmly recommended that I switch immediately.

So, would I recommend the Motorola Milestone? Absolutely! And Apple and RIM better watch their backs!

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Written by: Jeff Wiener. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Identi.ca, or Friendfeed

{ 2 comments }

Ktar April 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Hi Jeff,
I like what you wrote about the Milestone phone. Maybe I’m a bit biased because I did some work for the Telus HSPA network recently. My wife decided to change her phone and 90% of people recommended the iPhone, however, she is a bit rebellious at times and willing to go against the tide when she feels like it. So she decided to go with the Motorola Milestone. All that you wrote above matches our experience with the phone as well. I’m still trying to figure out if there is a downloadable application for this phone that would clearly let you prioritize the networks that the phone can access the Internet with (e.g. Wi-Fi, HSPA and so on).
I went through the menu and yes, you can enable or disable the Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi and HSPA all together, but I couldn’t find anything that can assure, that if the phone can log into Wi-Fi, the HSPA is disabled and, if the phone is outside Wi-Fi coverage, it will enable the connection to HSPA. As well, there should be something on the menu that will allow the user to turn On or Off the HSPA connectivity for data transfer while the phone voice features are still On. Maybe there are, but I couldn’t find them myself yet.
Or maybe, a downloadable application cannot do all of these and we may need to wait for a new software version that Motorola may release in the future for the Milestone.

Your blog was a good read.

Regards,

phonecard December 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I use this phone for three months. I like it. The phone itself is rugged and functional, yet stylish and refined. I was able to boot up the phone for the first time and gain access to my calendar and emails inside ten minutes, and was able to fully configure the phone, take pictures, and download apps from the Google App store in under an hour.

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