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Google buys Motorola’s cellphone branch, which, apparently, is good news for RIM

RIM’s problems run deeper than its tablet sales (Image: The GameWay)

The big news from Wall Street this morning is that Google found some $12 billion in its sofa cushions and decided to splurge on a cellphone maker. Motorola Mobile, the cellphone division that’s responsible for some of the better Android smartphones on the market, is now going to be part of the Google cult family. While at first glance this marriage of search giant and tech factory would seem like bad news, bizarrely, it actually might be good news for Research in Motion (and, really, the first the BlackBerry maker has heard in a while).

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CONFIRMED: Toronto gets two new area codes—416 and 647, meet 437 and 387

Image: Seattle Municipal Archives

We mentioned a couple days ago that the CRTC was considering—“within weeks”—announcing a new area code for Toronto, a response to the exploding mobile market that will likely use up all currently available numbers within the next three years. For once, a federal bureaucracy actually did something ahead of deadline, announcing a pair of new three-digit prefixes for city cellphones.

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Ontario’s e-waste recycling program is a “Soviet Union-esque” disaster

A big ol' pile of e-waste (Image: Curtis Palmer)

Okay, we’re not going to go quite as far as the critic who equated the provincially mandated Ontario Electronic Stewardship to the U.S.S.R. We’re pretty sure nobody’s accused Dalton McGuinty of turning TVO in to Pravda yet—besides, Steve Paikin wouldn’t let him anyway. But this weekend the Toronto Star reported that the initiative the government of Ontario spearheaded in an attempt to make recycling environmentally dangerous e-waste more eco-friendly is basically a big, fat failure.

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Does RIM just not get the gadget market?

RIM is getting rocked (Image: Andy Mihail)

Research in Motion took another beating on the markets this morning, plunging 21 per cent after another disappointing earnings report. The company’s stock is now trading at less than half of what it was a year ago and about one fifth of what it was worth at its all-time high back in 2008. So, what’s killing the Waterloo-based company in the cellphone market? Really, its technology isn’t horribly worse than Apple’s or Google’s—and it’s certainly a long way from Nokia. One theory comes from an ex-employee: that RIM has relied on its business customers for far too long and can’t compete in a market driven by consumer gadget lust.

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Canadian CEO brings Nokia what it needs: balls

Canadians may not have a reputation for being brash, assertive leaders, but every once in a while we still manage to surprise: Nokia’s Ancaster-born CEO Stephen Elop has been making waves this week by shaking up the struggling cellphone giant. Earlier this week, a memo from Elop to Nokia staff leaked to tech site Engadget. In it, Elop said there had been too many bad decisions at Nokia over the years and that “we poured gasoline on our own burning platform.” With that bracing news out of the way, Nokia announced today that it’s abandoning its own attempt at building a smartphone operating system and throwing its lot in with Microsoft.

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India gets RIM to cry uncle, Google and Skype up next

The big news in the tech world today is that Waterloo-based Research in Motion seems to have struck a deal to keep Blackberrys working in the subcontinent. There are no details on what, exactly, RIM conceded to the Indian government, but more or less, everyone is assuming that crackberries are about to get a lot less secure from Indian government investigation.

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New service allows riders to text the TTC to learn how late streetcars will be

The service’s stickers went up in May, but those texting for TTC schedules via the new streetcar notification system have been disappointed every time (see frustration, left). That is, until now.

Starting late last week, transit users can get a text message sent to their phone telling them how long they have to stand in the blazing sun or bitter cold before the next streetcar arrives. The new system will use a GPS tracking system to draw up the times of when the next six streetcars are scheduled to arrive. The location number and phone number to text for the schedule are posted at 600 streetcar stops around the city. The idea has been a long time coming, and has been ushered into being by TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

The system is pretty much a carbon copy of the one used for buses in Ottawa—the city that happens to have the highest per capita user costs in Ontario, according to a CTV report from last month. The TTC has also announced plans to have cellphone reception in subway stations by mid-2012—a mobile partner will be chosen by the end of the year—which means that while the subway or streetcar ride may not be faster, at least we’ll have more things to play with while we wait.

Text system gives streetcar arrival times [CBC]
TTC resurrects plan to wire subways for cellphone service [Globe and Mail]

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The Rogers affair: woman sues telecommunications company after she’s caught cheating on her husband

Consolidating phone bills with Rogers can save money, but, apparently, it can also un-save a marriage. Just ask Gabrielle Nagy, a Toronto woman who is suing the telecommunication behemoth for “ruining her life.”

It’s a classic story. Girl meets boy other than her husband. Girl gets a cellphone under her maiden name in order to maintain a secret affair with boy. Girl’s world comes crashing down when Rogers incorporates girl’s secret phone bill into the monthly statement sent to girl’s “matrimonial home,” thus exposing her cell-terfuge. Husband leaves girl. Girl sues Rogers.

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The Dish

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Coke-powered cellphones, nut-free airplanes, parsley’s great comeback, Beyoncé to live long

As if phones don't vibrate enough

As if phones don't vibrate enough (Photo courtesy of Daizi Zheng)

• As any student knows, Coke can provide enough energy to power one through an all-nighter. Nokia has figured this out, as well, as proven by the company’s new cellphone battery, which uses enzymes to generate electricity from sugar. The fully biodegradable handset, designed by Daizi Zheng, also runs four times longer than those with the traditional lithium battery. [The Design Blog]

• Curly parsley has become the new “star of high-end cuisine,” Canadian House and Home reports. The ascent of this essentially boring herb, great garnish of roadside diner dishes the world over, marks the return of many basic ingredients to chefs’ kitchens since the recession. Goodbye, saffron spice. Hello, iceberg lettuce. [National Post]

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What can I do if my cab driver is talking on a cellphone?

Dear Urban Decoder: What can I do if my cab driver is talking on a cellphone?—Maeve Grady, Eglinton West

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