Five months later: A (disgruntled) re-review of the Motorola Milestone.

As you may remember, back in March I did a review of the Motorola Milestone. This was the non-US equivalent of the popular Motorola Droid. Five months later and I am not happy…

As I expected, the Motorola Milestone is already yesterdays Jam, with new Android handsets coming out with frightening regularity my once-beloved phone now seems ancient. Of course there is little point being upset as this is the march of progress at work and does not diminish my phone’s value, however I have noticed that the ‘bored now’ factor is much higher with Android phones than it is with the iPhone simply because new ones are always being released.

Hardware:

I did have some concern that the sliding mechanism would become loose after a while but so far it is still working wonderfully. None of the ports have worn and the phone is surprisingly scratch resistant. In fact I have given this phone some punishment and it doesn’t have a mark on it.

Software:

A few months ago Motorola decided to push out its 2.1 android update, as the phone uses a vanilla android install I am unsure why it took so long, indded the only additions are annoying and irremovable Motorola apps such as ‘MotoNav’, which is utterly useless as Google Maps now ships with free navigation as opposed to the slow and paid-for version Motorola tries to push on us.

The camera has improved greatly, when I first got my phone I was quite unsure about the camera app, the interface was clunky and unresponsive and all the settings were difficult to access. Plus the camera itself was quite slow to activate. Now the camera is a lot faster and the interface is great. My only issue is that it seems to struggle more with low-light photographs, however this may be something I am doing incorrectly.

Motorola:

As you’ve probably noticed so far, I don’t sound all that disgruntled at all. Indeed the phone itself is still fantastic and I believe if I were living in America this review would be nothing but shining praise, however I am British and as a result Motorola seem to be content to leave me hanging. So much so that I cannot even get a response from them via email.

About a week ago I sent them the following email (note: I get quite ‘uppity’ when I am writing formal letters so I apologise if I sound like a snob)

I would like to direct your attention to the following facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=121867580498&topic=13747

I’m afraid that the original poster in this topic is correct, your reputation in Europe is taking a massive hit, a simple google or twitter search can actually see the scope of it, the reason I purchased a Milestone was because it ran an untouched version of Android and was unlocked, so I could enjoy trying out different versions of Android from the community, you can imagine my disappointment therefore when I find that you have locked the boot loader. To add insult to injury, it appears that you are not even making an effort to provide us the upgrade to Froyo, it seems you are trying to stop the development for this phone so we are forced to upgrade. Indeed this ‘strategy’ may work but it is unlikely we’ll consider a new Motorola phone to be a viable upgrade. This feeling is what is being echoed across the Milestone-owning community.

Secondly, I purchased the phone as it was advertised as ‘flash-ready’, I have had this phone for several months now and so far I still cannot use any version of flash. Therefore this phone was mis-sold to me, this is something I am quite understandably very angry about.

I honestly believed that you guys had turned a corner and had begun to produce high-quality products, indeed the Milestone hardware could be fantastic if the software could be altered to get the most from it, to me it seems you bred a pedigree puppy and then tied its legs together.

I hope you realise that this is a PR disaster and do what you can to improve matters for your disgruntled customers. This issue is enough for me to sell my phone and spend extra on buying one from a better manufacturer such as HTC. I for one will not be purchasing another Motorola product if these issues are not dealt with satisfactorily.

Fourty eight hours later, I received this email:

Dear Alexander,

Thanks for reaching out to Motorola. Your inquiry has reached our North American office, and we do not have international product information at this location. For information specific to the product you mention in your inquiry, please contact the Motorola office that is closest to your country for further assistance. The various worldwide Motorola offices can be found by locating the following link:

http://www.hellomoto.com

We hope that you find this information useful and look forward to assisting you in the future.

For information about Motorola products and services, please visit us at http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/GB-EN/Home

Thank you for contacting Motorola e-mail support.

Best Regards,

Neil Gabrido

“Fair enough” I thought so I looked through their site to find a UK email address and I was dismayed to find that all links available just led me back to the same ‘North American’ office as before. Now I am fully willing to admit that it is possible I would have found the appropriate contact details had I looked deepr but personally I feel it should have been easy to find and in 2010 I refuse to believe that a communications company cannot provide me with a simple regional email address so I sent them the following response:

This issue is most certainly not to my satisfaction. Your global offices do not provide email addresses on the website and you’re ‘contact us’ pages on your ‘local’ websites only direct to the USA offices. I would appreciate it if you could forward this email on to a relevant office or at least provide me with an email address for the UK division.

Again two days later I received the exact same response, it seems that Motorola do not even care enough about non-US customers to even bother reading the email to check its context and immediately send out canned responses.

Thankfully my complaint was actually in the process of being resolved and T3 recently reported that version 2.2 is indeed going to reach the Milestone in the next few months.

All in all I am still very happy with the phone itself. I am feeling jealousy toward people who have the HTC Evo and Desire, but this is to be expected, however my dealings with Motorola have shown me that their attitude toward customers is terrible and whilst my next phone purchase will definitely still be an Android phone, it will most certainly not be a Motorola.

 

24th August 2010 Update – Motorola have just confirmed that the Milestone will be getting the update to FroYo but that the rollout will start at the end of the year. This is not good enough as 3.0 will nearly be out by then. America already has it, they just keep sticking the finger up at their non-US customers.

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

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