Money Minute: Starbucks Offers Another Type of Charge

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Starbucks (SBUX) has a new, highly charged offering on the menu, and it's caffeine-free. The coffee chain is teaming up with Duracell to offer wireless charging of cellphones. Customers in the San Francisco and Boston areas will be the first to simply put their phones on the table and get a free charge without using any plugs or cables. It will roll out to the rest of the country over the next three years.

Google (GOOG) wants to move beyond searches for Beyonce and the Tea Party, and expand its investment in clean energy. Bloomberg reports the company is building both the hardware and software for a "smart grid" to help utilities improve the delivery of energy across the country. The idea is to make the grid more flexible so that it can use alternative energy sources such as wind and solar to adjust for the ups and downs in energy usage.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%We all know that economic growth was very sluggish last year, but new government figures show a handful of states enjoyed robust growth. Most of them are smaller population states in the western half of the country. Idaho was No. 5 on the list. The other fast-growing states were Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wyoming and No. 1, North Dakota. The North Dakota economy grew by nearly 10 percent, thanks to the boom in oil production.

Here on Wall Street on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 102 points -- retreating from Tuesday's record high -- the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 6 points, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost nearly 7.

Finally, Coca-Cola (KO) is about to launch a new a cola with a third less sugar and calories than the regular version. But the biggest change is on the outside. The can of Coca-Cola Life isn't the usual bright red Coke is known for -- it's green. The new product has been tested in Argentina and Chile and will go on sale in Great Britain in September. No word yet if it will be sold in the U.S.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

8 PHOTOS
The Best Deals on Father's Day Gifts
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Money Minute: Starbucks Offers Another Type of Charge
Most of the best tool deals we saw last June were for inexpensive hand tool sets, although we did see excellent prices on saws, storage and combo kits. And the best part is that most of these deals were store markdowns -- some as high as 70 percent off -- so there's no need to worry about whether you've missed a coupon that will yield a better price. Moreover, many items were available at a very affordable price of $10 or less, so you could theoretically put together a package of, say, a shovel, a wrench, a flashlight and a pruner for under $40. SearsHome DepotTrue ValueAmazon, and Ace Hardware all had exceptional offerings.
Electronics were by far the category with the most Editors' Choice deals last June; in fact, 25 percent of the deals in this arena were marked as superb, and they included speaker, headphones, phones and TVs. Bundles including store gift cards were often what made the deal sweet, so be sure to check out sellers like Dell and Newegg -- both known for including credits in their offerings -- if you're seeking a steal on a gadget for dad.
June is the biggest month of the barbecuing season when it comes to the number of grill deals. Last year, we saw 75 deals related to grills in June. That's second only to May, when we saw 76. Unfortunately, June isn't the best month to get the lowest price (that comes later in the season), but there are still plenty of discounts, so you definitely shouldn't be paying retail. In fact, we saw deals that slashed up to 50 percent off around this time last year. So while some of the Editor's Choice level deals were on accessories -- such as grill pans and recipe books -- there should be no shortage of options if you're looking to pick up a grill for dad's special day.
Last June, we saw more than 100 deals related to the sports and fitness category, with Editors' Choice prices on everything from sports equipment to apparel and decor. Camping equipment, athletic shoes, and exercise accoutrements were some of the most frequently discounted items, making them good Father's Day gifts to seek out. Whether dad likes playing outdoors, getting fit in the comfort of his air conditioned home, or looking at a giant photo of his favorite quarterback on his office wall, you should be able to get a deal on something right up his alley. This sport and fitness guides has more gift ideas.)
A tie may be the stereotypical lazy/unwanted Father's Day gift, but there's something to be said for keeping dad in fashion. And with more than 1,700 clothing and accessory deals listed last June, odds are that you'll be able to find something that suits dad's fancy. We saw all-time low prices on shoes, jackets, sunglasses and pants, as well as strong general sales from merchants as varied as adidasPumaMacy'sAllen EdmondsExpress and American Eagle. Year-round items like activewear made up a big chunk of the Editors' Choice deals, but some were decidedly non-summery, like dress pants. With discounts as high as 92 percent off, though, there's no reason to limit yourself to seasonal buys.
So what'll it be? A drill? A sports coat? An upgraded tablet? Whatever you choose, dad will probably love it. And now that you know what to look for, you can be proud of your deal-hunting skills.
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