| USA TODAY
The good news: You won’t have to camp out in front of Best Buy for that big screen TV “doorbuster” deal.
The bad: So many will, indeed, be gathered at the same time, but you’ll all be online for the Black Friday super sales. First come, first served. Who has the quickest trigger finger?
Black Friday sales start earlier this year, as soon as Sunday, if you’re not counting the Black Friday-adjacent sales that have already been out there. The “doorbusters” of years past are now online specials, starting at staggered times.
And if you thought the competition for that favorite item was bad in years past, just wait until you get in front of that computer or mobile device, trying to connect.
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“Last year, you probably had 100 or so people on a line with you,” says Gene Munster, an analyst and investor with Loup Ventures. “This year, it will be hundreds of thousands. It’s going to be a refresh game.”
Get ready to be comfy, perhaps with laptop in one hand and mobile device in the other, update the screen as often as possible and get those items in the cart so they belong to you.
Munster figures the big three brick-and-mortar retailers, Best Buy, Target and Walmart will have more available stock than in years past, since the focus is on online sales, but he still expects quick sellouts. “In the end, the stores win, because they’ve got you there, and you’ll probably end up buying something else, but it may not be what you want.”
Here’s what to look for:
Sunday: Target Black Friday
The Minneapolis-based retailer kicks off its fourth “Black Friday Now” sale Sunday morning. Here are some of the best deals we saw:
- The new edition of Amazon Echo speakers, which normally sell for $99, are priced at $69.99, a $30 savings.
- A TCL 65-inch 4K TV is $229, available on Nov. 22, normally $399. But buyer beware: This TCL edition isn’t the popular Roku branded TCL TV with Roku streaming built in, but uses Google’s Android TV as the smart TV platform.
Target retail stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Target ‘Black Friday Now’ deals: Series of weekly sales will run throughout November
What’s up at Walmart: Walmart just released its second round of Black Friday deals
Sunday: Best Buy Black Friday
Best Buy kicks off its online sale Sunday, offers more online specials Thursday, adds another mix of online and in-store specials on Friday, and more online only deals for Saturday.
Big TVs are usually the reason consumers gather in front of Best Buy on Thanksgiving evening and Friday mornings, and the retailer looks not to disappoint, with TV online deals.
A big 75-inch LG set is $649, down $200, while a 55-inch TCL/Roku set is $199, also $200 off. Best Buy is also looking to move last year’s models of Apple MacBook Pro laptops at $200 off and has a special deal for the compact $399 iPhone SE, but please catch the fine print.
The lowest-priced iPhone normally sells for $399, and Best Buy will sell it at half off, if you bring in an older iPhone to trade and agree to two years of wireless service.
Wednesday: Walmart Black Friday
Walmart kicks off its sale Wednesday, online only, at 7 p.m. ET and continues Friday at 12 a.m. ET online and in-store 5 a.m. ET.
The newest Xbox and PlayStation game consoles will go on sale at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday.
- A 70-inch Vizio V705X TV, normally in the $700 range, sells for $478.70.
- AirPod Pros, which Walmart sells now for $199, will be priced at $169.
- Apple Watch Series 3 edition, which Apple currently sells for $199, will be $119 online for the sale.
With all the emphasis on online sales, what about in-store? So far, Walmart isn’t telegraphing any major deals. The Roku SE streaming player, normally $25, is $8 off, at $17 and the Google Nest Mini smart speaker, which sells for $39, is $19 in store.
All week: Amazon Black Friday
The e-tailer is staggering discounts on products through Friday, so you’ll need to keep checking the website. The best deals are, as always, on Amazon products, including the new edition of the Echo Dot smart speaker for $28, down from $50, the three-pack of Eero mesh routers that we wrote about Thursday, $223 instead of $279 and a Fire TV 4K streaming stick for $24.99 instead of $49.99.
Amazon traditionally saves its best prices for after Black Friday and “Cyber Monday” but encourages shoppers to bookmark its Black Friday page to find the latest deals.
Happy shopping and I hope you get what you were hoping for.
In other tech news this week
Apple introduced the new HomePod Mini speakers and faster Macintosh computers. The HomePod looks to take on Amazon and Google smart speakers with consumer pricing, at $99 and looks to be one of the best sellers of the holiday. We liked the sound, even if the speakers weren’t as great as the new Google Nest Audio but noted that it’s a more useful speaker. It can compose and read back text messages, help you find your phone and double as a dynamic TV speaker. We haven’t had a chance to check out the new Macs yet, which are billed as faster performing. Prices start at $699 for the revamped Mac Mini, $999 for the Mac Air and $1,299 for the MacBook Pro.
Google introduced a revamped payment app that’s part Venmo, part Quicken and part Apple Pay. The new Google Pay app, for iOS and Android, revamps the old edition, which was strictly aimed as a tap and pay app for transactions.
Hulu with Live TV increased its pricing and will soon be the most expensive of the cable TV streaming alternatives, a pack that also includes YouTube TV, Sling TV, AT&T Now and Philo. Hulu’s most expensive plan, which includes the Hulu streaming service, plus broadcast and cable TV channels, will cost $71 monthly, beginning Dec. 18, instead of $64.99. YouTube TV, which is owned by Google, charges a flat $65 monthly. AT&T starts at $55, T-Mobile’s TVision is $40 while Sling’s service starts at $30, and Philo is $20.
Thanksgiving and Zoom. Many of us will be doing our dinners over video meeting. That’s a given. But what device will you use? Laptop, smartphone, tablet? I’ve got a guide to all of it, right here.
This week’s Talking Tech podcasts
Amazon’s Echo Frames finally ready for their closeup. The $250 talking glasses had initially been introduced as an “invite only” product in September, 2019. The frames, which answer to Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant, go on sale Dec. 10.
Google’s opt-in sneakiness. As part of the Google Pay revamp, Google introduced new features to track your finances, and went to pains to say they were “opt-in.” Really? How does that process work exactly?
First look: Black Friday deals. How the offers compare this year.
How to stage a Zoom Thanksgiving. The tech you’ll need.
Review: HomePod Minis rock. My take on the new Minis.
Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter