Android update for Milestone finally hits the UK

After a fairly long wait behind the rest of the west, the UK Milestone finally received the update to 2.1. Here is a quick rundown of its new features and instructions on where to get your hands on it.

This morning Engadget reported the long-awaited release of the 2.1 (Eclair) update for the UK edition of the Motorola Milestone. We have already downloaded and tested it and so far, we think it’s great. Here are the features it has added along with our impressions.

Live Wallpapers

One of the things that made Milestone users jealous of the Google Nexus one was the touch-sensitive video wallpapers they had access to, now with 2.1 we have them as well.

Our Impression

So far this is my favourite feature, I’ve always been a fan of animated wallpapers and the Android version is fantastic. The stock wallpapers included with the update are rather lacklustre though, however downloading new ones (including the nexus one wallpaper – although this one is not all that stable) is as simple as visiting the Market.

More home screens

I initially worried that three home screens would be difficult to get used to after owning an iPhone, I have to say though I really did not have any issue with it. Evidentally some people did though as the new update now allows you to have upto 9 home screens on your device.

Our Impression

If you are a heavy user of widgets then this feature is probably great for you, however I only have a few widgets and I find the tab menu easy enough to navigate so for me this feature does not add a great deal more functionality.

Facebook pre-installed

This update is understandable given the current nature of the web, it seems now that Facebook is becoming the number one use of the internet for many people so it seems like a smart move to include it with the update.

Our Impression

As far as I can tell there have been no changes from the Facebook app which is available on the market, as I already had this installed anyway I saw no benefit from the update.

Google Maps update

There have been various updates to the built-in Google Maps application. Most notable of which is the inclusion of multi-touch functionality. They have also added features such as auto-complete and account synchronisation.

Our Impression

Pinch-to-zoom is definitely a welcome update and really is one that should have already existed. The other features are definitely handy but will probably not see much regular use.

Camera updates

For me the best update by far is the camera application, video and still modes are now separate items in the menu and the interface for the camera app itself has been drastically overhauled.

Our Impression

This update for me offers the greatest improvement of the full upgrade, the camera was one of the worst interfaces I had used in quite a long time, it was clunky and poorly thought out. The new update sports an intuitive design and is much more responsive.

Overall impression

The update is definitely a welcome one, however considering how long we have waited for this it really doesn’t seem to have made a difference. My main hope is that it contains a number of bug-fixes as it does seem that the Milestone does suffer from a few stability issues on occasion.

One point to note is that since the update this morning, my multimedia station no longer has access to its ‘docked’ mode and instead just crashes to the home-screen. Hopefully this is not the case for all devices and the ones who are affected will receive another update soon. If you are affected by this bug please let us know in the comments so we can update this to an official warning.

EDIT: This is an official bug but users have already found a solution, simply delete the applications cache (instructions in this thread) and it works like a charm.

In my opinion, the update is worth doing, it brings some features to the table which were sorely needed and my phone appears to run slightly faster (although that may just be in my mind), however it is nothing to get overly excited about.

How to upgrade

Upgrading is remarkably simple, simply visit http://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/support/update/ and follow the on-screen instructions.

A full list of changes can be found here (PDF)

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Alex Foxleigh
Freelance UI Developer at
Freelance User Interface Developer, Aspiring novelist and ill-informed political writer from Sevenoaks, UK.

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