Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Plan your Black Friday attack with these sites and apps

11

November

Well, it's that time of year again and another Black Friday is upon us. With all the bad news in the world these days, wouldn't it be nice if we could change Black Friday to "Bright and Cheery Friday?" Tradition dictates that it won't happen, but maybe the apps and tips below will at least help make your Black Friday experience a little less dark.

If you want to score that 42-inch LCD flat-panel TV for $299 this year, you need to do your homework and make a plan. If you wait until the ads hit your driveway on Friday morning you already will be behind the thousands of people in your area who are in line for the best gadget deals because they knew what they were, days ahead of time.

Let's start with a couple of web sites, and their accompanying smartphone apps, that list deals in advance so you can make your game plan long before the turkey is in the oven.

dealnews - Black Friday

dealnews.pngThe dealnews site is a great place to find bargains throughout the year and for Black Friday, they really turn up the heat. They have dozens of stores on their site with confirmed copies of Black Friday ads. You can search by category, popularity (hottest) and for the best deals. Some deals are confirmed and others are clearly labeled as rumors, with additional labels for early bird, limited quantities and in-store only deals. They are constantly updating and adding new stores and ads, so check back often to see if rumored deals have been confirmed and to get the latest updates.

dealnewsbf.pngOne cool feature on their site is the Black Friday predictions. This is where they predict the lowest prices expected on Black Friday for certain, door buster items. These include big TVs, laptops, tablets, gaming systems, etc. To do this they compare current pricing to last year's pricing and weigh that against last year's Black Friday deals. Their methodology is on the site and you can see that in the past they've been pretty accurate.

They have a great app, available for iOS and Android, so you can check for deals on the go. You also can use the app to save the deals you're tracking and share them via Facebook, Twitter and email so all the members in your assault team can keep the latest deals in their pockets.

tgiblackfriday

tgiblackfriday.gifThe tgiblackfriday site is another excellent place to do your homework before the pushing and shoving begins. The layout of the site is a little more cluttered than dealnews, but there is a ton of good information there. You can sign up for email alerts that will arrive each time a new Black Friday ad is posted. You also can save deals in an online shopping list on the site. tgiblackfriday.pngDownload pdf files of the ads you want, in case you want to read the fine print or print them in advance.

Their app is available for iOS and Android as well, and it's very similar to the dealnews app. You can view popular deals and the newest ads, search by store or category, save deals to your shopping list, download pdf files of ads and share deals through Facebook, Twitter and email. The app also has push notifications to alert you when new ads arrive.

Although the dealnews and tgiblackfriday apps surfaced as two of the best, there are a lot of others out there so feel free to explore. Just be careful when searching however, because you're bound to come across a lot of Rebecca Black - Friday apps, as I did, that have nothing to do with shopping.

BlackFlyDay

The BlackFlyDay 2.0 app is designed to be used as a team sharing and communication tool when shopping. It uses Facebook integration and geo-location data so you can not only track the deals but also track your team. The app is available for Android smartphones and tablets free of charge through Black Friday (Friday, Nov. 25). You can download it at BlackFlyDay.com.

blackflyday.jpg

Communication

To keep your team organized and in touch you need a good and quick form of communication. You can text or use your phone, but wouldn't it be great to have a set of walkie talkies that would work all over town? If you have an iPhone or Android phone you have that capability already.

heytell1.jpeg  heytell2.jpeg

The HeyTell app turns phones into long-range walkie talkies that function similarly to Nextel push-to-talk phones. The app is cross-platform, so iOS and Android users can use it to talk to each other. Just start the app, choose a contact, push the button and start talking. If the other person doesn't hear the message immediately it's saved as a recording so they can play it back when ready. You also can share your location using a map right in the app. The voice quality is actually better than using your phone and it works over 4G, 3G, Edge and WiFi connections.

Power

trent-ifuel.jpegIf you're planning to camp out at one of the big box stores to snag a deal on one of the door busters, you'll need a way to keep your phone charged while in the line. Plugging in won't be a reality so consider getting a USB battery pack, like the Trent ifuel, to stay online so you can communicate with your team and receive the latest updates.

Get ready

Armed with these tools and some good planning you can put yourself in a better position to survive the onslaught and surface victorious with some great deals. Now get busy and good luck!

[Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2011 9:36am]

    

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