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Amazon Prime members now get 10% off sale items at Whole Foods, plus other weekly discounts

Amazon announced today it will begin offering exclusive discounts to Prime members who shop at Whole Foods — a move that’s been expected since Amazon acquired the grocer last year for $13.7 billion, and more recently shut down Whole Foods’ rewards program and digital coupons. Prime members, starting today, will be able to take 10 percent off Whole Foods’ hundreds of sale items, as well as receive other “weekly deep discounts” on best sellers, Amazon says.

The savings are rolling out initially to the Whole Foods stores in Florida, but will expand to all U.S. Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market 365 stores this summer.

Whole Foods currently has over 470 stores in the U.S., Canada and U.K. combined, but the majority – 463 – are in the U.S.

Amazon has made fairly quick work of leveraging its investment in the brick-and-mortar grocery chain. Almost immediately following the acquisition, it began slashing prices in Whole Foods’ stores. And it already offered special coupons to Prime members to help them save more at times — like when it discounted Thanksgiving turkeys, for example.

Today’s news is now formalizing those prior efforts with a standard rewards program where Prime members can expect to take 10 percent off sale items on a consistent basis, in addition to other weekly discounts on select items. These will be labeled in store with yellow “10% off” sale signs, and “Prime Member Deal” signs, respectively.

For example, this week (5/16-5/22), Prime members at supported stores will receive the following savings:

  • Sustainably sourced, wild-caught halibut steaks: $9.99/lb., save $10/lb.
  • Organic strawberries: 1 lb. for $2.99, save $2
  • Cold-brew coffee at Allegro coffee bars: 50 percent off 16 oz.
  • KIND granola: 11 oz. bag 2/$6
  • 365 Everyday Value sparkling water: 12-pack case buy one, get one free
  • Magic Mushroom Powder: 50 percent off

It’s common for grocery stores to offer weekly savings, but in Whole Foods’ case, customers won’t have to sign up for a loyalty card or clip coupons from a circular — they have to join Amazon Prime to enjoy these savings. That could be a lure for Prime members who already shop Whole Foods, but could push price-conscious shoppers further away from the chain, given its existing reputation for high prices.

To take advantage of the new program, Prime members will need the Whole Foods mobile app, where they sign in with their Amazon account and then scan the app’s “Prime Code” barcode at checkout to apply the appropriate discounts. Alternately, they can opt in to use their phone number at checkout, if preferred.

Amazon has also set up a dedicated site for more information about the discount program (amazon.com/primesavings).

These in-store savings are not the only way Amazon has been tying Whole Foods to its larger business.

The companies also launched two-hour delivery from Whole Foods via Amazon’s Prime Now service in 10 cities across the U.S., with more to come this year, Amazon says. Plus, Amazon Prime members get 5 percent back on Whole Foods purchases with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card, the companies announced earlier this year.

And the stores themselves are serving as the brick-and-mortar presence for Amazon’s online store, with things like Amazon Lockers, support for returns, and the ability to shop Amazon hardware, like Echo speakers and Fire TV.

“This new Prime benefit at Whole Foods Market is a perfect pairing of healthy and delicious food at even more affordable prices,” said Cem Sibay, vice president, Amazon Prime, in a statement about the discount program’s launch. “Our vision is that every day Prime makes your life better, easier and more fun, and shopping at Whole Foods Market with exclusive deals and savings is all of this and more.”


Source: TechCrunch

Whole Foods sales items get even cheaper for Amazon Prime members – CNET

The new deals arrive in Florida and will go nationwide starting this summer.
Source: CNET

Samsung beefs up the Galaxy S9's color pallet with red and gold – CNET

Its flagship handset will soon be available in Burgundy Red and Sunrise Gold.
Source: CNET

Marvel legend Stan Lee posts first personal video on Twitter to thank fans – CNET

Excelsior! The Marvel comics legend reclaims his social media after it was hijacked to thank his fans for their support.
Source: CNET

Science doesn't quite know why you hear Yanny or Laurel – CNET

Ten experts came up with four different explanations.
Source: CNET

Watch a laser-powered RoboFly flap its tiny wings

Making something fly involves a lot of trade-offs. Bigger stuff can hold more fuel or batteries, but too big and the lift required is too much. Small stuff takes less lift to fly but might not hold a battery with enough energy to do so. Insect-sized drones have had that problem in the past — but now this RoboFly is taking its first flaps into the air… all thanks to the power of lasers.

We’ve seen bug-sized flying bots before, like the RoboBee, but as you can see it has wires attached to it that provide power. Batteries on board would weigh it down too much, so researchers have focused in the past on demonstrating that flight is possible in the first place at that scale.

But what if you could provide power externally without wires? That’s the idea behind the University of Washington’s RoboFly, a sort of spiritual successor to the RoboBee that gets its power from a laser trained on an attached photovoltaic cell.

“It was the most efficient way to quickly transmit a lot of power to RoboFly without adding much weight,” said co-author of the paper describing the bot, Shyam Gollakota. He’s obviously very concerned with power efficiency — last month he and his colleagues published a way of transmitting video with 99 percent less power than usual.

There’s more than enough power in the laser to drive the robot’s wings; it gets adjusted to the correct voltage by an integrated circuit, and a microcontroller sends that power to the wings depending on what they need to do. Here it goes:

“To make the wings flap forward swiftly, it sends a series of pulses in rapid succession and then slows the pulsing down as you get near the top of the wave. And then it does this in reverse to make the wings flap smoothly in the other direction,” explained lead author Johannes James.

At present the bot just takes off, travels almost no distance and lands — but that’s just to prove the concept of a wirelessly powered robot insect (it isn’t obvious). The next steps are to improve onboard telemetry so it can control itself, and make a steered laser that can follow the little bug’s movements and continuously beam power in its direction.

The team is headed to Australia next week to present the RoboFly at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane.


Source: TechCrunch

Google rolls back Chrome update breaking web games – CNET

Autoplay video fix put on hold.
Source: CNET

Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. to host AI show on YouTube Red – CNET

If Marvel’s Tony Stark had his own show about robots, this would be it. Robert Downey Jr. creates a new webseries all about artificial intelligence.
Source: CNET

Eight years on, Apple employees still sore about Samsung copying – CNET

The patent infringement damages trial also gives a look into how Apple designs its products.
Source: CNET

Superhero outcasts Doom Patrol invade DC Universe – CNET

Superpowered DC Comics outcasts Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl, Crazy Jane and the Chief will get their own streaming live-action show.
Source: CNET

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