CNN Money’s Brian Stelter is reporting that NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, is acquiring DreamWorks Animation studio for $3.8 Billion

Comcast said DreamWorks “will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal Brand Development.”

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said “DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come.”

In comparison, Disney bought Pixar back in 2006 for $7.4 Billion.

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If you’ve been waiting to see official Apple Stores in India, your wait might’ve gotten even shorter. The Indian government might consider relaxing the 30% local sourcing norms for Apple, after the company gave a presentation before a committee headed by industrial policy and promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek.

According to the Economic Times, the presentation did prove fruitful:

“The committee has found that the company’s products are cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art. It has recommended to exempt them from the local sourcing norms,” sources said.

Nokia to Acquire Withings for $191 Million

Nokia has today announced that it has plans to acquire Withings — the health and fitness wearables company based in France. With this acquisition, Nokia plans to “accelerate [its] entry into Digital Health”, according to the press release.

“We have said consistently that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market,” said Rajeev Suri, president & CEO of Nokia. “With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.”

Withings is known for its products such as Activité the analog watch with a fitness tracker inside, Pulse activity trackers, Smart Body Analyzer and weighing scales, Home baby monitoring system, etc.

The acquisition values Withings at €170 Million and Nokia expects to close the deal in early Q3 2016.

Trying to avoid any controversy on net neutrality, Bharti Airtel on Monday has written to the telecom regulator seeking its permission for a deal the company is mulling with a “big global content provider” for video content.

Airtel might just be at it again, but are playing it cautious this time.

Hotstar Introduces Premium Subscription; HBO Original Shows Available for Streaming

hotstar-premium

Hotstar — Star India’s video streaming service that debuted in early 2015 has now introduced paid subscriptions on the service for watching “Premium” content. Called Hotstar Premium and available for ₹199 per month, it gets you access to a host of new “premium” movies and TV shows, including a bunch of HBO Originals such as Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Veep & True Detective as well as movies such as X-Men: Days of the Future Past and Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The subscription gives you access to not just the premium content available today, but also the new content that Hotstar will add in the future. You can access this either via the website or via the Android and iOS app. Non-Premium content on Hotstar will continue to be available for Free. The Premium service is only available in India right now and you can only sign up using your Credit Card. There’s a 30-Day trial to get your started, and the company puts a ₹5 authorization charge to verify your card details, which it says will be refunded to you. Hotstar does not currently offer support for Chromecast or AirPlay, so you can’t actually watch any content on your big screen TV. Video quality is decent and you can manually select up to 720p.

Let’s face it, the only real reason you’d consider signing up for Hotstar Premium is because you get access to Game of Thrones and other HBO shows. Not only can you start watching the episode as soon as it airs in the US, but you also get to watch is completely uncensored. That’s right, you get to watch Game of Thrones exactly how David Benioff & D. B. Weiss want you to watch it. Most other content is either already available on other streaming services or is old enough that you’ve seen it already.

I just finished watching the latest episodes of the Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley on the service and am fairly content with the experience. Am I going to continue my subscription beyond the trial? I’m not sure yet.

If you’ve been waiting for Apple to open their own stores in India, your wait might have just gotten shorter, according to The Times of India:

On Tuesday, the iPhone and iPad maker made a presentation before a committee headed by industrial policy and promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek where it made a case for use of the special provision. Sources told TOI that Apple was a fit case for relaxing the norms. “Their products certainly meet the requirement for waiving the local sourcing clause,” said a source, adding that a final decision will be announced in a few days.

There have been reports that the Indian government was considering relaxing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) since November last year, which were quickly followed by the government’s official announcement later that week. Following that, Apple had submitted their request for approval in January this year, but had to re-submit because “certain gaps [were] found in the initial proposal”.

After Tuesday’s presentation, I don’t think an announcement is all that far away.

Serajul Quadir, reporting for Reuters:

Bangladesh’s central bank was vulnerable to hackers because it did not have a firewall and used second-hand, $10 switches to network computers connected to the SWIFT global payment network, an investigator into one of the world’s biggest cyber heists said.

The lack of sophisticated switches, which can cost several hundred dollars or more, also means it is difficult for investigators to figure out what the hackers did and where they might have been based, he added.

Like stealing candy from a baby…

The Iconfactory’s Craig Hockenberry has an insightful take on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s wider color gamut and DCI-P3 standard, seen also in the latest 5K iMacs.

After using this iPad for a couple of weeks, I’ve realized it’s like the advances of Retina in an important way: I never want to use a lesser display again. And as with higher density, I think it’s obvious that Apple will eventually update all its products to use this improved screen technology. I can’t wait!

We’re quickly reaching a point where more pixels don’t make better photos. Think about how much Apple likes to tout the camera and how better saturation improves photos. These new displays are the first step in a process were wider gamuts become a part of the entire iOS photography workflow. The number of places where your code assumes everything is sRGB will be both surprising and painful.

I haven’t been able to decide if I should be shelling out INR 49,900 on a new iPad, especially considering I’m still using the iPad Mini 2 (without Touch ID) and so far, it seems like Apple’s winning.

I missed this yesterday when I posted about the new 12″ MacBook Lineup. Apple has also announced the dates and venue for its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) held in San Francisco. And they also have a really cool website this time for it.

WWDC this year will be held between June 13th to 17th, with the Keynote being held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on the first day and sessions, labs are more being held at Moscone West. There’s also the Bash scheduled on Thursday, June 16th again at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

wwdc-2016

I love the colorful site this year, with what looks like a monospace variant of San Francisco (the font).

If you’re looking to attend this year, you can register now, but attendees will be chosen via a draw like last year.

Apple Updates MacBook with Latest Processors & New Rose Gold Option [with India Pricing]

new-macbook-lineup-2016

Apple has today announced that it has updated the MacBook lineup, bringing along faster processors, improved graphics performance, faster flash storage and one hour longer battery life. Today’s refresh also introduces a new “Rose Gold” color option, taking the lineup to four color variants.

“MacBook is the thinnest and lightest Mac we have ever made and it’s our vision for the future of the notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are going to love this update to MacBook, with the latest processors, faster graphics, faster flash storage, longer battery life and a beautiful rose gold finish.”

The new MacBook now features the latest sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors that go up to 1.3 GHz, with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz. You also get faster 1866MHz onboard memory, Intel HD 515 Graphics that are up to 25 percent faster than previous generation as well as longer battery life that can take you up to 10 hours of usage.

Apple has also increased the pricing for MacBook in India. Previously, the 12″ MacBook was launched at ₹99,900, with the second model coming in at ₹1,19,900. The new lineup is priced at ₹1,06,900 and ₹1,29,900 respectively, which means India Pricing has gone up by ₹7000 for the base model and ₹10,000 for the top model.

Update April 19th, 2016 20:29: It should be noted that the price increase happened last year, not particularly with today’s announcement.