Amazon recently said that it would shift all Prime members from free two-day shipping to free one-day shipping throughout 2019. As it turns out, some customers are already getting bumped to free one-day, as reported by The Verge.
While logistically it’s going to take Amazon a while to get free one-day shipping rolled out to all customers—especially those in more rural areas that may be further from distribution centers—it’s nice to see it already rolling out to some others. Of course, one-day shipping isn’t new on the whole, as it was previously available to some users with a minimum $35 order. The “new” one-day shipping option will not only make it the default choice for Prime members but also removes the $35 threshold.
This news comes in tandem with a report from Reuters that Amazon is starting to replace some of its human box packers with machines that can pack up orders “4 to 5 times” faster than people. The machines, which are already in a handful of warehouses, can pack a staggering 600 to 700 boxes per hour. That’s insane.
For Amazon, however, it’s not necessarily about speed—“It’s truly about efficiency and savings,” according to the Reuters report. I’m honestly not sure how “efficiency” doesn’t translate almost directly to “speed,” but hey, whatever. If it’s faster, it’s more efficient.
The biggest question here, of course, is what this means for the workers who are replaced with the packing machines. As you can probably imagine, box packing is a high-turnover job, so instead of letting workers go, Amazon simply won’t refill those roles as workers quit. Ultimately, the machines will likely replace around 1,300 workers across the country.
As for the ones who stick with the packing positions, Amazon said those people could be re-purposed to different positions. The machines themselves still require three human workers anyway: one to program orders, one to load up cardboard and glue for the custom-built boxes, and one to clear out the “occasional” jams. And while installing the machines will set Amazon back some $1 million per machine, the company says it can recoup the expense in less than two years and re-invest the money that it will ultimately save into “new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.” Sounds good.
In Other News
Windows 10 is on 825 million devices, an “unhackable” USB stick was exposing passwords, Office 365 has a crap-ton of subscribers, and a lot more.
- Windows 10 is installed on “over 825 million devices:” According to internal documentation obtained by Thurrott.com, Windows is still dominant. [Thurrott]
- “Unhackable” USB stick found to be leaking passwords: Honestly, calling your device “unhackable” in the first place is a pretty boneheaded move. The eyeDISK USB drive was compromised pretty easily by using a packet analyzer to detect that it was sending passwords in plaintext. Oops. [TechRadar]
- Office 365 has more than 214 million subscribers: Dude, that’s SO many subs. More than Amazon Prime and Spotify Premium combined, according to MSPowerUser. Wild. [MSPU]
- Samsung missed the Galaxy Home window…again: Last year, Samsung announced the Bixby smart speaker that no one wanted, then missed the delivery window. It showed it off again at CES 2019 with an April 2019 shipping window, but it missed that too. There must not be a lot of emphasis on delivering it any time soon. [CNET]
- Google targets “Phone X” against the Pixel 3a: Google started its Pixel 3a campaign hard and heavy, already challenging something called the “Phone X” on price and camera features. 😉 [9to5Google]
- Spotify is letting artists share the stories behind their music: A new feature called Storyline gives artists an Instagram-like way to share the story behind the song. That’s cool. [Android Police]
- Google may be testing automatic crash detection on phones: Code found in the latest Android Q beta hints at car crash detection, though it’s unclear what this would do once a crash is detected. One could assume it will automatically notify the authorities, but we’ll wait until more info is available to make further assumptions.
It what may be the most bizarre story I’ve seen in a while, the CFO of a school lunch company called Choicelunch has been arrested for hacking into a competitor’s database and stealing data on hundreds of students. Information on the students, what they like to eat, and known allergies was stolen from The LunchMaster last year then traced back to where Choicelunch is headquartered. An FBI investigation into the data breach eventually pinned the hack on Choicelunch’s CFO. It turns out that school lunches are a high-stakes, cutthroat world. Who knew? [The Register]