Microsoft officially acquires Nokia’s devices & services units!

In a (barely) surprising fashion, Microsoft has reached a deal to acquire Nokia’s devices and services units. The deal will also include the Finnish company’s patents and mapping services.

Under the reached upon agreement between the two companies’ boards of directors, Microsoft will pay €3.79 billion for the devices and surfaces business. Nokia’s patents will fetch an extra €1.65 billion, thus bringing the transaction total to €5.44 billion. The Redmond giant will pay the sum in cash.

The deal will see Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop return to Microsoft, where he will head the Devices division. Risto Siilasmaa will be Nokia’s CEO on an interim basis going forward.

Once the deal closes, 32,000 people will transfer to Microsoft. Out of those, 4,700 are in Finland, while 18,300 are directly involved in manufacturing and assembly of products worldwide.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, after it goes through the usual round of regulatory approvals.

Sony’s website leaks photos of Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZL

You might recall that Sony was readying a couple of high-end Android models called Yuga and Odin. Just the other day, it turned out that the Yuga was purportedly renamed the Sony Xperia Z. And Sony’s own website not only has a press shot of the Sony Xperia Z, but also shows off the Odin, which also has been renamed, to the Sony Xperia ZL. The speculation is that the Sony Xperia Z will be made available in the Japanese market while the slightly sleeker Sony Xperia ZL will be available in the rest of the world. Besides being a little more slender, the Xperia ZL also has its front facing camera at the bottom right of the device instead of on the top as with the other model.

The Sony Xperia Z (L) and Sony Xperia ZL (R); note the different front camera placement - Sony's website leaks photos of Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZL

Sony has yet to announce the specs, but the word is that both models will offer a 5 inch LCD display with 1080p, 441ppi pixel density, with a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor driving the phone. We’d bet it is the APQ8064 doing the heavy lifting, with the Adreno 320 handling the graphics. Did we mention the 2GB of RAM? No? Ok, both models are rumored to have 2GB of RAM and a 13MP Exmor RS camera sensor on back. Android 4.1.2 is pre-installed and LTE connectivity is expected.

One recent report had Sony introducing the Sony Xperia Z at CES 2013 in Las Vegas on January 8th and then launching itexactly one week later on January 15th. Perhaps as we get closer to CES, Sony will reveal some more official word about the their two new flagship handsets.

Cyber Monday mobile sales grow to a record number!

Cyber Monday is the year’s second biggest shopping day, but when it comes to online purchases it might well be the largest one this year. Online shoppers are estimated to have spent $1.98 billion, the most ever, according to Adobe’s Digital Index.

Mobile devices were a key part of the online shopping craziness that was November 26th. Sales from smartphones and tablets doubled this year. In tablets the growth was 110% and in smartphones – 100%.

And when it comes to the actual products that grew sales most, it was actually the Toys and Health and Beauty categories.

Curiously enough, social network referrals paid a tiny role in the madness. Social network referrals contributed only 2% to the sales, but those 2% were dominated by Facebook and Twitter, and Pinterest grabbed another 15%.

Cyber Monday mobile sales grow to a record number

Flexible Smartphones May Be Here Sooner Than You Think

It may not be long before flexible smartphones become commonplace on store shelves.

Samsung is reportedly moving forward with plans to make displays out of flexible plastic rather than glass, a move that would allow devices to be lighter and bendable, according to the Wsj.

The flexible displays are said to incorporate OLED technology, the same technology the company is already using in some of its television sets and smartphones. Extremely thin, OLED displays can be put on a number of different materials, including flexible plastic.

A flexible smartphone would be more durable than many smartphones currently on the market, and for a time, would set Samsung apart with a unique device offering.

Samsung GALAXY Note II sells 3 million units globally in one month!

The Samsung GALAXY Note II is another big winner (pardon the pun) from the Korean manufacturer. After one month of availability overseas, the phablet has rung up 3 million units in sales. You might remember that Samsung’s J.K. Shin said that 20 million units of the 5.5 inch device would be sold after 1 year, double the amount that the original Samsung GALAXY Note managed to hit.

With Verizon and AT&T taking pre-orders for the device, there are many more sales ahead to count. Launching on all four major U.S. carriers is a good way to get a boost in those numbers. But as hot as the Samsung GALAXY Note II is, and make no mistake that it is hot, the phablet will be hard pressed to match the 20 million units sold by the Samsung Galaxy S III after its first 100 days on the market.