iFive: Nokia Job Losses and Microsoft Deal, Sony Move to Be Hackable, PayPal Micropayments, iPhone Mini, Egypt Phone Encryption

Friday’s here, the weekend is imminent so let us get you up to speed quickly with the early innovation news:

On this day in history Thomas Edison was born in 1847, and Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin signed the Yalta agreement that framed post World-War II Europe and incidentally initiated the Cold War. On with the news:


1. Perhaps somewhat lost in all the press release madness surrounding the news that Nokia is partnering Microsoft, was the fact that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop revealed one serious piece of news: Speaking to a Finnish reporter, he acknowledged that there would be “substantial reductions in employment” inside the cell phone giant, both at home in Finland and elsewhere around the world. More than anything this is a lesson in the old-faithful saying: “Innovate or die.”

2. Sony is moving quickly for such a giant of tech, and is learning lessons from the fast-growing and extremely innovative Microsoft Kinect hacker crowd: It has plans to let “academics and hobbyists develop software using the PlayStation Move controller on their own PCs.” What Sony’s no doubt hoping for is a groundswell of coders embracing its high-precision pointing system in a way that rivals Microsoft’s camera-based system.

3. PayPal effectively popularized online payments like no other company, but the market has since evolved toward micropayments–with firms like Apple leading the way, thanks to iTunes. Now PayPal is striking back with a “two-click” micropayments solution, complete with low transaction fees, and has opened it up to game developers, media folks and other online vendors. Will the PayPal brand carry it to success?

4. A big rumor has popped up that Apple is prepping cheaper iPhones at a third of the current size to accompany 2011’s iPhone 5 and combat swarms of cheap Android units. A sub-$200 off-contract phone is being discussed, possibly free with carrier subsidies–or Apple may try to kill carriers involvement and implement it’s patented virtual SIM tech. It’s all rumors, still, but they do strike a chord with industry thinkers.

5. Hackers are watching Egypt–the crowd’s reliance on smartphone tech, the government’s snooping and control of digital gear–and are reacting: A company called Whisper Systems has released special apps for Egyptians owning Android phones to encrypt VoIP calls and text messages. The plan is to try to facilitate crowd-organized protests against the entrenched government, while protecting users from reprisals.

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