For the first time in history: The new face of the 20$ bill will be a Woman!

A woman’s face is finally going to grace the front of our paper currency and it’s going to be abolitionist icon Harriet Tubman, who is best known for her work with the Underground Railroad that helped former slaves escape captivity. Politico reports that Tubman’s face will replace Andrew Jackson’s on the $20 bill, while Alexander Hamilton will keep his place on the $10 bill.

U.S. treasury secretary Jack Lew last year said that he planned to replace Hamilton’s face with a woman’s on the $10 bill, although that decision generated a backlash from many people who said that we should keep our first-ever treasury secretary on the front of our currency. Former U.S. president Andrew Jackson, meanwhile, doesn’t have nearly as much of a cult following and is thus a prime target to be replaced by Harriet Tubman.

Politico’s sources say that while Hamilton will remain the face of the $10 bill, “leaders of the movement to give women the right to vote on the back of the bill.” Additionally, it seems “there will also be changes to the $5 bill to depict civil rights era leaders,” although Abraham Lincoln will remain on the front of the bill.

Of course, it also helps that Hamilton now has a smash-hit broadway musical named after him as well, so even hipsters who know nothing about history can be happy that his face is staying on the $10 bill. And Tubman is the perfect choice as the first American woman to go on the $20 bill, as she’s an icon who worked tirelessly to both end slavery and promote women’s suffrage.


Apple widens U.S. lead over Samsung, makes ground on Google!

Apple iPhone 5

Research firm comScore reported Thursday that a survey of of the United States market for smartphones during the month of February 2013 has revealed Apple’s iPhone widening its lead over second-ranked Samsung, which went up one percentage point to grab a 21.3 percent share of US-owned smartphones during the three month average period ending February 2013. In other words and in another data point proving Apple doomsayers need to re-run their spreadsheets!

During the same timeframe, Apple’s has gone up from 35.9 percent in November 2012 to 38.9 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers in February 2013, an increase of 3.9 percentage points. The good news doesn’t stop here: Apple’s iOS mobile operating system which powers all iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices, increased 3.9 percentage points to 38.9 percent, matching Apple’s aforementioned smartphone devices share.

comScore (US smartphone vendors, 201302)

Google’s Android platform, available on numerous devices from dozens of manufacturers, still ranked as the top smartphone platform with a healthy 51.7 percent market share in February 2013, but it dropped two percentage points from 53.7 percent market share in November 2012…

Per comScore data, BlackBerry ranked third with 5.4 percent in mobile OS share while Microsoft (3.2 percent) and Symbian (0.5 percent) continue to be rounding errors.

According to independent analyst Horace Dediu, the numbers don’t mean people are abandoning Android. “To be clear, Android is not losing users, but they are gaining far fewer than iOS,” he wrote on Twitter.

US mobile platform net user gains (Asymco, comScore February 2013)

In terms of top smartphone vendors, in addition to the #1 Apple (38.9 percent) and #2 Samsung (21.3 percent), HTC came in third with a single-digit share of 9.3 percent, while Google-owned Motorola and LG rounded up the top five list with their respective 8.4 percent and 6.8 percent share.

All told, researchers estimate that the United States had some 133.7 million smartphone owners. Growth, however, is notably slowing and was pegged at an estimated eight percent compared to comScore’s November 2012 data.

comScore (US mobile OS share, 201302)

The smartphone industry appears to be saturated elsewhere as well, with today’s news of France Telecom complaining about a slowdown European carriers are feeling over belt-tightening amid the continued fragility of the economy there.

CEO Stephane Richard, who runs France Telecom, warns “there are fewer early adopters”so selling a phone for $600 is “getting more and more difficult.”

“Customers are more focused on price,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek. “Except for a few hundred thousand people who will buy the latest iPhone – except for that category of people – the majority of the market will be difficult.”

US Smartphone adoption (Asymco 001, February 2013, comScore data)
US smartphone penetration rate chart via Asymco.

comScore data highlights his point: the U.S. smartphone market is obviously peaking with a 57 percent mobile market penetration, although we’re obviously still far from the saturation point as the remaining 43 percent non-smartphone owners upgrade to their first smart device.

“Warm Bodies” storms US box office!

Warm Bodies has topped the US box office with takings of $20m (£14.7m) in its opening weekend.

The zombie romantic-comedy stars Skins actor Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.

It bumped Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters down to second place making $9.2m (£6.8m), while Silver Linings Playbook moved up a spot to third position with sales of $8.1m (£5.9m).

Two films starring Jessica Chastain, Mama and Zero Dark Thirty, took up fourth and fifth place.

The horror picture Mama made $6.7m, ahead of Zero Dark Thirty, a thriller charting the killing of Osama Bin Laden, earning $5.3m.

Teen crowd

Females made up for 60% of the audience watching the adaptation of Isaac Marion’s book Warm Bodies over Super Bowl weekend, which usually sees a slump in movie-going from Saturday to Sunday.

However, teenage fans were still seduced by the film, which references Romeo and Juliet and was produced by Lionsgate, the film company behind the teen saga Twilight.

“They’ve definitely cracked the code on how to attract that teen audience with films like The Hunger Games, Twilight and something like Warm Bodies, which definitely plays right into the sweet spot of that demographic,” said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

R-rated action films, which mean under-17s require an accompanying parent or adult guardian, have not fared so well in 2013.

Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head opened with just $4.5m (£3.3m) for Warner Bros, while Parker, starring Jason Statham, has now earned a total of $12.4m (£9.1m) in two weeks for FilmDistrict.

But the latest Die Hard movie with Bruce Willis, titled A Good Day To Die Hard, opens on 14 February and is expected to buck the trend.

Judge rules that Samsung did not ‘willfully’ infringe on Apple’s patents!

Last August, a California jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on several Apple patents in a high-profile trial. The initial damages awarded to Apple totaled $1.05 billion, but since Samsung was found to have ‘willfully’ infringed, that amount was expected to multiply.

Not so fast. The two companies have been attending post-trial hearings with Judge Lucy Koh over the past few months to plead their cases for appeals and other motions. And tonight, Judge Koh has issued a ruling overturning the jury’s willful infringement finding…

Koh writes that establishing willful patent infringement takes a two-prong analysis: an objective inquiry and a subjective inquiry. The subjective inquiry is for the jury, which in this case found Samsung guilty, and the objective inquiry is for the court, which did not.

The Verge’s Bryan Bishop does a nice job of explaining it:

“As Koh writes in the ruling, for an ultimate finding of willfulness to hold Apple needed to prove that there was an “objectively high likelihood that its [Samsung’s] actions constituted infringement of a valid patent.” Samsung had argued that it had reason to believe Apple’s patents were invalid — so that even if Samsung had infringed, it couldn’t be found to have done so willfully. Koh found Samsung’s arguments reasonable enough to rule out an overall finding of willful infringement. In other words, she believed Samsung went into the whole situation with a reasonable belief that it wasn’t in the wrong.”

So what does all of this mean for Apple? Well, obviously the big thing is that it won’t be receiving any additional damages for willful infringement. And although the current $1.05 billion verdict stands, Koh could theoretically reduce the amount in light of this ruling.

In addition to the aforementioned overturn, the Judge also issued a few other rulings tonight in regards to the case. She denied Apple’s request for enhanced trade dress damages, as well as claims from Samsung that some of Apple’s patents were invalid.

Koh still has several post-trial motions to rule on, but it’s nice to see that they’re making progress. Hey, the sooner this thing wraps up, the sooner the two companies can get started on next year’s big trial. The case is scheduled to hit the courtrooms in March of 2014.

Samsung rapidly-growing in Europe, closing in on Apple !

The UK continues to be Apple’s European fortress against the invading hordes of Android smartphones. That’s the word from Internet firm comScore, which announced Monday most European cell phone owners have adopted smartphones. In the United Kingdom, Apple is holding onto a slim 4 point-lead.

Meanwhile, South Korea-based Samsung experiences double-digit growth. Germany is the only European nation where smartphone penetration has not reached at least 50 percent. In the UK and Spain, two countries where consumers have largely abandoned landlines, smartphone adoption is at 62.3 percent and 63.2 percent, respectively.

But the real story could be the tight race between Apple and Samsung, fueled by Android’s growing presence in Europe…

As the above chart shows, Apple as of October was at 28 percent of the UK market, a 1.5 percent increase over the same period in 2011. Samsung was close behind at 24 percent of the market, a 12.8 percent increase over 2011, according to comScore.

RIM and HTC hover in the 2.5-2.7 percent range, while Nokia slips under the ten percent mark.

Are these numbers worrisome for Apple?


But as TechCrunch notes, the October figures do not capture any growth from the holiday period, expected to be strong for the iPhone maker.

When it comes to the battle between iOS and Android, the Google smartphone operating system currently has the upper hand.

According to comScore, Android has 46.6 percent of the UK smartphone market, while Apple is #2 with 28 percent. However, like the handset chart, the growth of Android is at a double-digit 12.4 percent while Apple maintains 1.5 percent growth.

Increasingly, the smartphone race is becoming a two-company field: Apple and Samsung. Symbian saw the largest drop in usage – 10.8 percent – while Microsoft saw a microscopic 0.5 percent increase to 3.1 percent of UK users above the age of 13.

While comScore’s MobiLens survey measures smartphone usage, the recent Kantar Worldpanel covered smartphone sales. The firm announced Android had more than 60 percent of smartphones purchased.