Amazon is now offering free Prime 1-day shipping on items that cost as little as $1 as it tries to further eliminate any reason to ever go to a store (AMZN)

  • Amazon has been gradually making it possible for Prime members to shop for low-cost items on its site (under $5) and have these shipped on their own for free, according to a new report from Recode.
  • This means that Prime shoppers can spend as little as $1 on an item, for example, and receive it the next day without incurring any shipping costs.
  • Previously, they would have had to add low-cost items such as toothpaste or deodorant as an “add-on” to another, minimum $25 order to qualify for free shipping.
  • The news should terrify Amazon’s competitors in this space such as Target, CVS, or Walgreens, where shoppers might otherwise go to pick up low-cost items.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon is taking a further step toward ensuring its customers never need to go to a store.

According to a new report from Recode’s Jason Del Rey, the retail giant has been gradually making it possible for Prime members to shop for low-cost items on its site (under $5) and have them shipped on their own for free.

This means that Prime shoppers can spend as little as $1 on an item, for example, and receive it the next day without incurring any shipping costs. Previously, the Prime shopper would have had to add low-cost items such as deodorants or toothpaste, for example, via its “add-on” tool, which enables these items to be shipped for free when you spend a minimum of $25.

On its site, Amazon explains that it offers the Add-on service to allow it to “offer thousands of low-priced items that would be cost-prohibitive to ship on their own.”

According to a September report from analysts at Edgewater Research, which was cited by Recode, Amazon has “essentially turned off” this add-on feature in the past few months. Now, many consumer packaged goods — items like deodorant or toothpaste — will be available for free shipping when they purchase them alone.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. In a statement to Recode, a spokesperson said: “We know customers love our vast selection, low prices, and free one-day delivery with Prime and we are always innovating to improve their experience.”

The news should terrify Amazon’s competitors such as Target, CVS, or Walgreens — companies running brick-and-mortar stores where shoppers might otherwise go to pick up low-cost items on short notice. If these are items are now available to buy online and have shipped to your home the next day, they’ll have fewer reasons to visit the store.

But Amazon’s moves into this market should raise red flags from an antitrust perspective, experts say.

“There’s no way that shipping costs are less than 75 cents, and there’s no way any other company that wants to sell a makeup brush could deliver that for free. It’s not possible and it highlights how pricing strategies can be used to drive rivals from the market. But antitrust law currently misses this anticompetitive conduct with its obsession on low prices,” Sally Hubbard, an antitrust expert, told Recode.

Read more: More than 1,500 Amazon employees are expected to walk out on Friday to protest climate change

And as Recode writer Jason Del Rey points out, the free shipping of smaller items is likely to cause issues with environmental activists who already urging the company to commit to zero emissions by 2030.

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Amazon Sidewalk Is a New Long-Range Wireless Network For Your IoT Devices


Network

Wireless Networking


Amazon Sidewalk Is a New Long-Range Wireless Network For Your IoT Devices (techcrunch.com)






Posted
by

BeauHD

from the always-connected dept.

At its annual hardware event in Seattle, Amazon today announced Sidewalk, a new low-bandwidth, long-distance wireless protocol the company is developing to connect all of the IoT devices in and around your house. TechCrunch reports: Amazon argues that Bluetooth and WiFi don’t have enough range, while 5G takes too much power and is too complex. “We came up with something that we call Amazon Sidewalk,” Amazon’s device chief Dave Limp said at the event today. “Amazon Sidewalk is a brand new low bandwidth network that uses the already existing free over the air 900 megahertz spectrum. We think it will be great for keeping track of things, keeping things up to date — but first and foremost, it will extend in the distance at which you can control these kinds of simple, low-cost, easy-to-use devices.

The details here remain a bit vague, but Amazon says that you may be able to use Sidewalk to connect to devices that can be up to a mile away, depending on how the base station and devices are positioned. Amazon already sent out 700 test devices to households in L.A. to test the access points — and once you have a lot of access points, you create a network with some pretty broad coverage. Amazon says it’ll publish the protocol so that other device makers can also integrate it into their devices.



It isn’t easy being the parent of a six-year-old. However, it’s a pretty small
price to pay for having somebody around the house who understands computers.

Working…

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Amazon drops prices on these three Samsung Chromebooks ahead of Prime Day 2019

Over the past few years, Chromebooks have set a new standard for laptops. Chromebooks have remarkably long battery life and are low-cost alternatives to Windows or MacBook laptops.

Ahead of Amazon’s 2019 Prime Day deals bonanza, the retail giant is offering three Samsung Chromebooks at incredibly discounted prices: The Samsung Chromebook Pro, the Samsung Chromebook 2, and the Samsung Chromebook 3.

Samsung Chromebook Pro 12.3-inch – $467

best cheap Chromebook deals Samsung Chromebook Pro

First on our list is the Samsung Chromebook Pro. This laptop/tablet combo normally retails for $550, but as an early Prime Day deal you can get it for $467 — an $83 discount.

The Samsung Chromebook Pro boasts an elegant 12.3-inch QHD touchscreen and a sturdy 360-degree hinge that converts it to a tablet. It is encased in a magnesium alloy chassis and comes with a built-in stylus — the first Chromebook to do so. Numerous Android apps are compatible with the Samsung Chromebook Pro, giving most tablets a serious run for their money. The keyboard is wonderfully responsive but ultimately feels cramped; important keys like backspace and tab are too narrow, which, to be fair, is not an uncommon issue on Chromebooks.

This may not be the most affordable Chromebook out there, but considering how well it performs and how durable it is, the Samsung Chromebook Pro is well worth your money.

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Samsung Chromebook 2 11.6-inch – $205

samsung chromebooks amazon pre prime day 2019 deal chromebook 2

This ultra-portable Chromebook 11.6- inch laptop runs with an Intel Celeron processor and is equipped with 4GB of system memory. It’s housed in a metal-reinforced body that provides protection from accidental slips and falls.

Performance-wise, it does a respectable job, despite its compact form. Running multiple tabs doesn’t cause it to lag (which can be attributed to the extremely efficient Chrome OS) and it can be operated for up to nine hours straight. The keyboard is comfortable to use, and the touchpad is flawlessly responsive. Its LED screen leaves a lot to be desired though. The screen is awash with blue-tinted colors, and text appears blurry on the edges. Still, for only $205, the Samsung Chromebook 2 is a more than adequate budget laptop.

Something a little less pricey is the Samsung Chromebook 2, costing $205 on Amazon ahead of Prime Day. That’s an astounding 59% off from its original price of $499.

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Samsung Chromebook 3 11.6 (Refurbished) – $134

samsung chromebooks amazon pre prime day 2019 deal chromebook 3

Last on our list is the Samsung Chromebook 3 11.6-inch, the most budget-friendly of the three. Refurbished units are being sold on Amazon as an early Prime Day deal for the low price of $134, that’s 33% less than the normal price of $200.

Samsung Chromebook 3 is a great little laptop. It boasts nearly 10 hours of battery life and comes with 4GB of RAM. The screen is a notable upgrade from the Chromebook 2. The 11.6-inch display is luminous and stunningly vibrant that it puts other budget laptops to shame. The chassis is made of smooth plastic that feels classy and well-made. It runs with an Intel Celeron processor which works well for web surfing and word processing. A few drawbacks are the muddy sounding speakers and awkward key placements. The backspace key is literally right below the power key and you’re just a press away from accidentally shutting it down. But for the insane price of $134, the refurbished Chromebook 3 is practically a steal.

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Looking for more tech deals? Find Prime Day laptop deals and Chromebook deals from our curated deals page.

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We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Amazon Prime Day 2019: Best Deals on Travel Gear

Note: Amazon Prime Day sales have ended. If you are still hunting, we recommend you check out our favorite rival deals from Walmart and others. Many of those sales last through July 17. As always, we hope our Gear coverage helped you sift through the online madness and find great products.

The word that best follows “summer” is “vacation.” If you’re planning to pair those two words for a classic American road trip this summer, take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Day to grab these travel essentials before you leave.

Even if you don’t have epic plans to Kerouac your way around the nation, we all need more memory for our devices and can never have too many charging cables. Most of us have also wrestled with slow hotel Wi-Fi enough to appreciate the value of a good Ethernet dongle.

If an item is no longer at its deal price or sold out, we cross it out. Deal prices sometimes return and items come back in stock faster than we can update, so it never hurts to check for yourself.

Note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

WIRED’s Prime Day Coverage (Sale is Over)

Chargers, Adapters, and Smart Plugs

TP Link

Life on the road sometimes means spotty access to power and networks. These power packs help you stock up on energy when it’s available so you have it when it’s not.

Memory to Store Memories

SanDisk 400 GB MicroSD card

Memory isn’t all that exciting, but admit it, you can never have enough. This year’s Prime Day has some good deals on SD cards of all shapes and sizes, hard drives, and dual USB sticks. Expand the storage capacity of your phone, Twitch, or other device with these deals.

Other Helpful Accessories

Lifestraw water filter

Lifestraw

  • LifeStraw Personal Water Filter (2-pack) for $25 ($14 off): Whether you’re camping, hiking, or traveling internationally, a light, small, portable, and packable water filter can save your life (or at least save you from a night or two of terrible tummy trouble). This is a great price for a water filter that doesn’t require any batteries and won’t make your water taste weird.

  • Trtl Travel Pillow 2-Pack for $43 ($12 off): Whether it’s on sale or not, the TRTL pillow is worth it, according to WIRED editor Arielle Pardes. It’s a great way to get some sleep on a plane.

  • BackBeat Pro 2 Noise Canceling Headphones for $132 ($68 off): The BackBeat Pro aren’t the absolute greatest noise cancelers on the market, but they have excellent battery life, silence some of that travel noise, and are wonderful to wear while you’re walking around. The earcups twist in a way that lets them rest comfortably on your shoulders when you take them off.

  • Kindle Paperwhite for $85 ($45 off): The Kindle Paperwhite lets you read at the pool, beach, and hotel bathtub without fear. The display is flush, and the device is rated IPX8, meaning it can sit in 2 meters of water for two hours. It also comes with three free months of Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s Netflix-style book subscription, and you get a $5 ebook credit. You can also get the standard Kindle for $60 ($30 off). Read more about the differences here.

Check our Amazon Prime Day Page for more coverage and deals.


More Great WIRED Stories

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Amazon says fully automated shipping warehouses are at least a decade away

Amazon says fully automated shipping warehouses are at least a decade away thumbnail

The future of Amazon’s logistics network will undoubtedly involve artificial intelligence and robotics, but it’s an open question at what point AI-powered machines will be doing a majority of the work. According to Scott Anderson, the company’s director of robotics fulfillment, the point at which an Amazon warehouse is fully, end-to-end automated is at least 10 years away. Anderson’s comments, reported today by Reuters, highlight the current pace of automation, even in environments that are ripe for robotic labor, like an Amazon warehouse.

As it stands today, robots in the workforce are proficient mostly at specific, repeatable tasks for which they are precisely programmed. To get the robot to do something else takes expensive, time-consuming reprogramming. And robots that can perform multiple different tasks and operate in dynamic environments that require the robot see and understand its surroundings are still firmly in the realm of research and experimental trials. Even the simple process of identifying an object and picking it up without having been trained on that object before requires a series of complex, sophisticated software and hardware that does not yet exist in commercial fashion.

So while a robot can help manufacture a microchip and the body of a Tesla motor vehicle, it’s not capable of doing human tasks that warehouse work requires. At Amazon facilities and other companies’ fulfillment centers, a bulk of the labor is still largely done by human hands, because it’s difficult to train robots to see the world and use robotic grippers with the dexterity of human workers.

But as part of the ongoing deep learning revolution that’s accelerated the progress of AI research over the last decade, robots are starting to gain levels of vision and motor control that are approaching human-levels of sophistication. Amazon is one of the companies pioneering such robots, and it’s held an annual so-called picking challenge, after the warehouse term from picking up one object to move it to another part of the logistics chain, to promote advances in the field.

A number of other companies and research labs have been making progress on that front, too. UC Berkeley has a robotics lab that’s made substantial progress in the field, and its new low-cost robot, a pair of humanoid arms controlled by a central system called Blue, can perform complex manual tasks like the folding of a towel thanks to an AI-powered vision system. Research lab OpenAI has similarly been using an AI training technique known as reinforcement learning to teach a robotic hand more precise and elegant movements, the types of motion that would be required of a robot to replicate a human in a warehouse. Kindred, a San Francisco-based startup, makes a robotic arm called Kindred Sort that it’s deployed in warehouses for the retailer Gap that uses a mix of human piloting and automation to perform dynamic product picking.


Blue is capable of complex tasks like folding a towel.
Image: UC Berkeley

According to Reuters, Amazon has 110 warehouses in the US, 45 sorting centers, and roughly 50 delivery stations, all of which employ more than 125,000 full-time warehouse workers. But only a fraction of the overall labor is performed by robots. Right now, robots are simply too imprecise and clumsy and require too much training to be deployed on factory floors outside very narrow use cases.

For instance, Amazon uses small, Roomba-shaped robots simply called “drives” mostly to deliver large stacks of products to human workers, by following set paths around the warehouse. “In the current form, the technology is very limited. The technology is very far from the fully automated workstation that we would need,” Anderson told Reuters, which toured an Amazon warehouse in Baltimore earlier today.

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Amazon to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites to help people who don’t have access to high speed internet

Amazon to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites to help people who don't have access to high speed internet thumbnail
  • Amazon is planning to launch a constellation of more than 3,000 satellites into orbit to improve global internet access.
  • The plan is codenamed “Project Kuiper” and could cost billions of dollars, according to GeekWire.
  • The United Nations estimates that half the world’s population will still not have access to the internet even by the end of 2019.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon is planning to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites into orbit around Earth to increase access to high-speed broadband.

The ambitious project, codenamed “Project Kuiper,” was spotted by GeekWire in numerous public filings from the Washington, DC-based Kuiper Systems LLC.

GeekWire estimated that the project could cost billions of dollars and put Amazon into competition with firms like SpaceX, which is planning its own satellite internet service.

Amazon confirmed its plans in a statement to Business Insider. “Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world,” a spokeswoman said.

“This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision.”

Read more: Facebook and Google unveil new efforts to tap into the ‘unconnected’ population

The United Nations estimates that half the world’s population will still not have access to the internet even by the end of 2019. In January 2018, the UN outlined a series of targets that, if met, would drastically improve worldwide internet access by 2025.

In 2010, a worldwide BCC poll of more than 27,000 internet users and nonusers found that nearly four in five believed internet access was their fundamental right.

More:

Amazon
Satellites
Broadband
Project Kuiper

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Amazon again slashes Whole Foods prices, doubles Prime member weekly deals

Amazon again slashes Whole Foods prices, doubles Prime member weekly deals thumbnail

Amazon-owned Whole Foods announced a third round of price cuts that will see the grocer discounting hundreds of items, offering an average savings of 20 percent. Produce is an area of specific focus in this wave of price cuts, with lowered prices on seasonal items including greens, tomatoes, tropical fruits and more. In addition, Amazon will expand its Prime benefits offered to Whole Foods shoppers with a larger selection of weekly deals, the company says.

Lowering prices at Whole Foods was one of the first major changes Amazon introduced following its $13.7 billion acquisition of the grocery chain in 2017. Almost immediately, discounts were put into place, ranging from 6 percent on the low-end to as much as nearly 30 percent, in some cases. Last year, Amazon also introduced 10 percent savings for Prime members shopping at Whole Foods across the U.S. — including for its delivery services, where available.

Through previous rounds of price cuts and Prime member deals, Whole Foods says customers have saved “hundreds of millions” of dollars since the chain’s merger with Amazon.

Today, the retailer says it will again lower prices storewide, with a focus on produce. Some of the new savings include large yellow mangoes for $1 each; mixed-medley cherry tomatoes for $3.49 per 12 oz. and organic bunched rainbow chard at $1.99 each. The WSJ reports more than 500 products have seen price cuts, and are the broadest cuts to date.

In addition, Whole Foods will double the number of exclusive weekly Prime Member deals and discounts.

Over the next few months, Prime members shopping the store will be able to take advantage of more than 300 Prime member deals on the season’s most popular items, the company notes. This includes, in April, discounts on things like organic asparagus and strawberries, antibiotics-free chicken, sliced ham, wild-caught halibut, Justin’s brand products, prepared sandwiches and wraps and more. Every week, up to 20 deals are available to Prime members.

In some cases, these new discounts for Prime shoppers as high as 35 to 40 percent.

Prime members also save the usual 10 percent on hundreds of other sale items.

“When Whole Foods Market joined the Amazon family, we set out to make healthy and organic food more accessible. Over the last year, we’ve been working together tirelessly to pass on savings to customers,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, in a statement about the new cuts. “Every time a customer walks into a Whole Foods Market, they expect and trust industry-leading quality standards across aisles. And now they will experience that same Whole Foods Market quality with even more savings across departments.”

To kick off the new price cuts and encourage foot traffic in-store, customers who try Prime will get $10 off their $20 purchase for signing up for a membership. Membership includes Whole Foods’ weekly deals, free grocery pickup, free grocery delivery on orders over $35, Alexa shopping and all the other Prime perks on Amazon.com.

The move to cut prices comes at a time when Walmart and Amazon are battling for grocery customers, with the former leveraging its existing brick-and-mortar footprint for free pickups, as well as its reputation as a low price leader. Unlike grocery delivery services such as Instacart or Target’s Shipt, Walmart’s groceries cost the same to pickup or deliver as they are in-store. (Target is now offering the same deal on Shipt, but only for Target items — not those delivered by other stores, which are still marked up.)

Walmart is also countering Amazon Alexa’s shopping features through a deal with Google, which now offers voice-activated shopping through Google Assistant, announced today.

To cater to grocery shoppers, Amazon is leaning more on its Prime membership program to entice customers used to the convenience of near-instant gratification and fast delivery. Whole Foods Market groceries ordered through Prime Now can arrive in two hours in more than 60 metros, with more cities on the way. And grocery pickup is offered in 30 minutes at some Whole Foods locations.

Whole Foods isn’t Amazon’s only angle on food shopping: Amazon is also reportedly looking into retail space to open its own U.S. grocery chain separate from Whole Foods, and runs a handful of cashierless Amazon Go convenience stores.

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Amazon has the unlocked Moto Z3 Play down to as low as $340 today

Amazon has the unlocked Moto Z3 Play down to as low as $340 today thumbnail

Right now you can pick up the Prime-exclusive Moto Z3 Play at Amazon for just $339.99 — $60 off its most recent price and the lowest it’s ever been. If you don’t want to deal with a few of Amazon’s apps, you can opt for the regular unlocked version for $349.99, which is $150 less than it regularly sells for. It offers a 6-inch Super AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and is powered by a Snapdragon 636.

On the back is a nice dual-camera setup, and you can use your existing Moto Mods to bring even more features and functionality to the device. We took a look at the Z3 Play and concluded that while it may not be for everyone, it’s a great device for the money. At the time of review, the phone cost nearly $150 more than it does right now, as well. With the lowered price, it’s definitely something worth recommending.

See at Amazon

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Amazon is reportedly planning a new, low-cost grocery chain

Amazon is reportedly planning a new, low-cost grocery chain

It may look to grow its planned business by snapping up regional grocery chains, while it’s said to be in talks for locations in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The report suggests the as-yet-unnamed brand will offer a wider selection of products than Whole Foods, which doesn’t carry goods with artificial preservatives, flavors or sweeteners, for instance. The stores could offer lower-cost shopping than Whole Foods too.

Amazon already has a grocery delivery service, and the reported chain would expand its retail footprint beyond Whole Foods, 4-Star stores and self-service Amazon Go outlets. It’s not clear whether the planned stores will also be cashierless, though the report suggests they’ll have a strong focus on customer service and pick-up options.

At around 35,000 square feet, the grocery stores are likely to be a little over half the size of a regular supermarket. Amazon could place them in open-air shopping centers as well as strip malls, though it wants no restrictions on what it can sell. The WSJ notes shopping center leases often prohibit stores from selling certain goods so they don’t compete too heavily with each other. We’ve seen recently that Amazon is willing to take its ball and go home if it doesn’t get its way, having dropped plans to build a second headquarters in New York following blowback from residents and officials.

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