Microsoft's $7.2 billion purchase of the Nokia handset business is now in the record books, and it didn't come at a hefty price like I feared. That's good for Microsoft, for now. I still think the purchase was a mistake, but maybe they will prove me wrong. Considering how badly Surface sales are going, Microsoft can't afford a second big hardware failure.
With the purchase, the Nokia brand name fades away and Microsoft Mobile takes its place. So what's Microsoft to do with all those handsets laying around that say "Nokia" on them? Give them away, of course.
If you live near one of the 83 Microsoft retail stores, this weekend you can score a free Windows Phone device. The official Microsoft Store Facebook page has announced that all their retail locations will give away eight Windows Phone devices on Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th.
Exactly how the winners will be chosen is not clear. The Facebook page states that the winners will be picked via the "Opportunity Rings Instant Win game," but they don't go into detail on how that works, nor do they say which Windows Phone products will be given out as part of this promotion. It could be a Lumia 920, although I kind of doubt it. If they give away the 520, people might end up more disappointed than stoked.
On the WP8 front, I recently acquired the Samsung ATIV SE, which was supposed to be the Galaxy S4 running WP8. Well, not exactly. While they share the same screen, the internals are different, and that led to a design change I'm really unhappy about.
Overall, I'm very happy with the phone. It's got a beautiful display, super-fast response that the S4 could never offer, and much better battery life than the Lumia, which was my main problem with the Lumia. It's also a lot lighter. But I shall save that for a review to come in the next week or so.
The ATIV SE is only available through Verizon, and you have to special order it from a Verizon store. I couldn't buy it at my local Best Buy. For some insane reason, we have five Verizon storefronts within 5 miles of my home, I kid you not. No, I have no idea why they put so many so close together.