Motorola MILESTONE review: Hello Droid
Android Market has what you need
Just as with every other Android there isn't too many preinstalled applications on the Motorola MILESTONE. The reason behind this is simple: with the Android Market open for business you can find a large number of apps (most of them free by the way) which can be downloaded directly from the handset using Wi-Fi or the mobile network at only a few clicks expense.
A nice touch is the warning shown if the application you're about to download has potentially unsafe access to personal data, connectivity settings, etc. The warning says exactly what data will be accessed so you can abort the download if you prefer.
When an app is being downloaded a status bar appears at the top of the display to track progress. When download is complete, you can start the application from there.
The Android Market follows the logic of the pioneering Apple App Store. Everything about it - the structure, the look - is pretty familiar.
Applications vary from pretty useless (such as the one that turns the display into a flashlight) to real must-have's (including file managers and video players).
Well, well - what a nice surprise we have here. The Motorola MILESTONE seems to be exactly the device the company needed. The one to grab it by the scruff of the neck and pull it out of the mess it got itself into. You know, ever since the razors started to get a little blunt and long in the tooth.
The MOTO army have taken serious casualties recently so heavily armed new recruits were desperately needed. But Motorola obviously believed a good general is worth more than a regiment so along came the MILESTONE. A device that generates prestige as well as income is nothing short of a phenomenal success.
The best part is that even the fearsome Nexus One is unlikely to really upset the MILESTONE: the QWERTY keyboard and multi-touch are enough to secure it against Google's new gadget.
There seem to be not too many direct rivals hitting the shelves soon either so the sun will keep shining for quite a while on this one. Motorola will have plenty of time to develop a worthy successor, and will get recognition as one of - if not THE - leading manufacturer in the increasingly crowded Android market.
That in turn will perhaps benefit the sales of their other Google OS phones - unusual handsets like the Motorola BackFlip need all the positive exposure they can get or otherwise they risk being poorly judged and dismissed as just gimmicks.
Anyway, cool as it may be, the Motorola MILESTONE isn't without competition. Unlike the entry-level touchscreen smartphone race where Nokia is pretty much the only horse, it's pretty crowded at the top.
The HTC Touch Pro2 and the Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO are solid QWERTY-enabled PocketPCs that will certainly do the job if it's the MILESTONE features rather than the OS that you are after. They probably offer more 3rd party software than the Android-running MILESTONE but most of it isn't in the Windows Marketplace yet and you will have to do the searching yourselves.
The Nokia N97 is another handset that matches the hardware functionality of the Motorola MILESTONE and even comes at a much lower price. However, the unpolished S60 UI cannot rival Android for either user-friendliness or 3rd party software availability.
There is plenty of potential there of course, given the huge S60 user base, but if you care about potential we would rather recommend the Nokia N900. It packs one of the best browsers we've seen and it's cheaper than the MILESTONE. We shouldn't forget either that Nokia handsets are about to receive free lifetime voice navigation, which is a great value boost.
So, it seems there're enough MILESTONE alternatives outside the Android world but if you insist on this platform (and we believe there are plenty of people who do) the rather outdated G1 is pretty much your only option. And it really only has a slightly lower price in its favor, while the MILESTONE blows it away in almost every other category. If you are looking for a high-end Android, this is really your only choice at the moment.