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The Motorola MILESTONE is the GSM version of the Motorola DROID, and is tipped to be the first Android 2.0 smartphone to be released in Europe.
There are a handful of differences between the DROID and MILESTONE, the most obvious one being that this is a GSM / UMTS device.
Just in case you missed the fuss over the DROID last week, we'll recap briefly: the Motorola MILESTONE has a large 3.7" 480 x 854 pixel touchscreen display, a five megapixel camera, 3.5G support, WiFi, and GPS. Inside is a 550 MHz ARM Cortex A8 processor which is reportedly as powerful as the CPU in the Apple iPhone 3GS. There's a fairly conventional slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and Motorola say that this is the slimmest device like this coming in at 13.7mm.
Although the camera seems a little basic, it does have autofocus, dual LED flash and can capture widescreen 720 x 480 pixel video at 24 frames per second. The new version of Android also has significantly improved camera software.
Android 2.0 is a big improvement over previous versions, but one major difference between the software on the DROID and MILESTONE is that the MILESTONE doesn't have the new version of Google maps with turn-by-turn navigation, and instead it comes with a trial version of Motorola's MOTONAV application. Presumably, Google Maps will be upgradeable when it becomes available in Europe.
There's a little confusion over the MILESTONE's touchscreen features, Motorola's product data sheet shows that it might have multi-touch capabilities that are apparently lacking from the DROID. The rest of the software suite is comprehensive and appears to be the same overall features as the DROID.
Most major video and audio formats are supported on the MILESTONE, and there's a 3.5mm audio socket and stereo Bluetooth as well. As standard, the Motorola MILESTONE comes with an 8GB card in the box (the US DROID has a 16GB card), and this is expandable up to 32GB using a compatible microSD card.
This is a quad-band GSM phone with 900 / 2100MHz UMTS support, HSPA (3.5G) high-speed downloads and uploads, plus 802.11b and g WiFi. The large 1400 mAh battery gives up to 6.5 hours talktime and 14 days standby time, although it is not clear if these are GSM or 3G figures. Measuring 116 x 60 x 13.7mm and weighing 165 grams, the MILESTONE is quite a large device, but then it does come with a large screen and QWERTY keyboard.
There's no exact word on availability, except that we know Germany and Italy will see it first. O2 Germany's page indicates a SIM-free price of €481 which seems to be good value for such a high-end handset. With a bit of luck, the MILESTONE will be available in some regions before Christmas, although when it will turn up in the UK is a mystery.
One optional extra is the MILESTONE Multimedia Station which is a combined docking station and charger, and there's also a Phone Holder so that the MILESTONE can be used as an in-car satellite navigation system.
This is an impressive looking device, and crucially it seems cheaper than the Nokia N900 and the new version of Android closes the gap somewhat between this type of phone and the iPhone. If Motorola can get the MILESTONE to market quickly enough, and if they can make sure that everything works properly.. then this handset could well be a winner.
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