Design of the Motorola Milestone
In the race for smartphone supremacy and touch screen saturation, many manufacturers have neglected their phones in terms of the quality of materials which they use. Plastic has been the dominant medium at the high end, which is odd considering that brushed aluminium and high quality rubber has made midrange mobiles feel far superior to their more expensive alternatives in terms of build quality and durability. The Motorola Milestone design marks a change in this trend and if you examine the way that the Milestone is put together you will realise that smartphones do not have to put software ahead of hardware any longer.
The Motorola Milestone is a very thin phone at just 13.7 millimetres thick, but when you consider that Motorola has included a full QWERTY keypad and a slider mechanism into the design, this figure becomes even more impressive. The Nokia N97, the T-Mobile G1 and many other touch screen smartphones that have full QWERTY keypads hidden are all much bulkier, struggling to hide the useful addition inside. This is not true of the Milestone, which manages to retain its svelte lines. Although the Motorola Milestone design is sleek, it still has a good feel in the hand and adequate weight to reassure the user that the content of the phone is powerful and worthy of the premium price of entry.
The Milestone sticks with a basic rectangular shape and whilst it is minimalist in its way, it does allow for all of the attention to be focused upon the 3.7 inch touch screen display that dominates the front of the phone. When you slide the screen sideways to reveal the QWERTY keypad you are rewarded with a 'click' to let you know that you have fully extended the slider mechanism. This is not the kind of cheap, rattling device that you could find on lower end handsets, but a smooth, luxurious movement that feels as if it will last forever.
Although the Motorola Milestone design is finished predominantly in black plastic, there is one touch of colour on the keypad. This comes in the form of a golden navigation pad and whilst this is likely to split opinion, it does give a kind of retro finish to this square, business-like smartphone. In many years time, people will look back at the smartphones of today and be struck by how different the Milestone looks from its peers. Whilst you see smooth curves, rounded corners and cheap plastics everywhere, the Milestone is a bastion of reserved, distinctive styling and no one could consider this to be anything other than a compliment. The navigation pad is a welcome addition to the Milestone as it makes editing text in messages, emails and online a breeze. Touch screen interaction can be called upon to perform the same function, but for precision and speed the navigation key, with its golden finish, is the best way to go.
When the slider mechanism is closed, there are few physical keys to be found. On one edge there is the power button, which also doubles as the unlocking key which you can press when you want to activate the touch screen after a period of disuse. Next to this button is the full sized 3.5mm headphone jack. Unlike some of its rivals, Motorola has managed to get the input completely level with the side of the phone. This makes it feel less like a bolted on extra and more like an integral part of the Motorola Milestone design and feature set.
The Motorola Milestone design could never be called mundane or mediocre and whether you like it or not, it is impossible to ignore.