iFive: Nokia’s “Burning Platform,” SpaceX’s Moon Rover, EFF Vs. WikiLeaks Secrecy, E-Ink’s Booming, Ebay’s Smartpay Plans

Here’s today’s early innovation news, presented to you in our eyeball-friendly iFive style:

1. Nokia has lost its grip on the cutting edge of cell phone tech, and even the company’s CEO Stephen Elop says so. He issued a headline-grabbing internal memo that describes Nokia as “standing on a burning platform.” The wrecked oil-rig metaphor runs throughout his note, and Elop even goes as far as explaining the origin of Nokia’s woes: Apple and Android. We’ve word-clouded his note below for fun. 


2. Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has signed a contract with a company called Astrobiotic to launch a rover to the Moon. This makes Astrobiotic the first entrant in the Google Lunar X-Prize to sign a launch deal. And when the tiny private rover gets to the lunar surface it will visit somewhere very special: the site of the Apollo 11 Moon landings. 

3. A federal court just ordered the unsealing of motions filed by the EFF and ACLU about the government effort to garner user data from Twitter related to the WikiLeaks Cablegate affair. These motions ask for the unsealing of “still-secret” records of the government’s requests, and attempt to overturn the official efforts. The ACLU is concerned at the excessive secrecy of a public body. The next hearing is February 15th.

4. E-ink Holding, the tech company behind the book-like e-paper technology that drives Amazon’s Kindle and many others, just posted revenues of $134 million for January 2011. That’s up 5% on the previous month, and 147% the year before. Say what you will about the e-reader market suffering at the hands of the tablet, for now the industry is still booming. 

5. Ebay’s due to reveal a plan to strengthen its core business against threats from Google and Apple. Specifically, Ebay will try to innovate to protect its PayPal business (which will soon out-earn Ebay’s marketplace income) by expanding to own the smartphone payments space. We know it’s a key battlefield for this year–so Ebay’s maneuvers will give us crucial insights.

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