Get out your credit cards and let the shopping begin.
Sure, many of the so-called “sales” started this week, but let’s get real—the action really begins early Thursday, like just after midnight.
Remember when people would camp outside big-box stores, hoping to be the first person to rush inside and save $100 or $200 off the price of a big TV on Thanksgiving and the day after?
You can still do that, but the big box stores are making it easier for everybody to start nabbing deals from home, eliminating all the elbow shoving and in-store rushing of years past.
The Best Buy physical stores open at 5 p.m. on Thursday, 6 p.m. for Target and Walmart. But online offers for all kick in first thing Thursday. The stores won’t specify an exact time, but take it from us, it’s shortly after midnight.
You’ll still have to brave the crowds at Best Buy if you want to nab a 49-inch 4K TV with built-in Roku streaming for just $179. Ditto if you want a gift card for $250 from Target for buying a new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus. You’ll have to come in.
But if you want to save $100 off the price of a Microsoft Xbox or Sony PlayStation 4 video game console, you can do that online.
And if you’ve wanted to bring a connected speaker into your home, retailers are making it worth your while, to the point where the small, Google Home Mini is practically free. It normally sells for $49.99, but Target and Walmart are offering it for $29, with a $25 gift card that effectively brings the price down to $4. Walmart has the larger Google Home speaker (normally $129) for $79, with a $25 gift card.
And speaking of connected speakers, Amazon, which makes the Echo line, likes to tout the many, many deals it offers, which it updates frequently, usually on Thanksgiving day.
But the best deals the e-tailer has announced to date will be available on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The company is offering the Echo at $20 off, for $79, a great price, considering a year ago it sold for $179, and the smaller speaker, the Dot, is now a bite-sized $29.99, down from the normal $50.
However, Amazon will announce one daily deal each morning, and offer several limited “Lightning” deals throughout the day for a specific period of time. Stay tuned!
Happy shopping everyone.
— Apple delayed the release of its HomePod connected speaker Friday, saying it wasn’t ready.The upscale speaker, Apple’s answer to Google Home and Amazon Echo, was initially slated for December, and aimed at higher-end consumers looking for hi-fi sound. Analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies called it a “smart move,” that allows Apple time to fine-tune and get it right. “Apple doesn’t release products until they’re ready,” he said.
—Google began shipping its answer to Apple Air Pods, the Pixel Buds, bluetooth headphones with a twist: you can use them to help translate languages. The caveat is that you need to have Google’s Pixel phones, of which there aren’t many in use, and to have the Google Translate app on the phones. The sound is pretty good, the translation worked, but the headphones have a thorny little problem, as Edward Baig pointed out in his review, and I seconded on the Talking Tech podcast. They don’t stay in the ear.
—A Tesla truck: Tech titan Elon Musk introduced the Tesla Semi, a new long-haul electric truck, at a splashy event in Los Angeles. Nathan Bomey says trucks are a better fit than cars for current electric-vehicle technology “because they generally don’t need to travel far in a day, can be centrally charged and can take advantage of braking in stop-and-go traffic to recharge their batteries.”
—Sprint/Hulu: T-Mobile offers free Netflix, with AT&T you get free HBO, so where’s No. 4 wireless carrier Sprint going to turn? It picked streaming service Hulu, the home to NBC, ABC and Fox shows, as a carrot to (hopefully) get people to sign up for unlimited cell service.
—Let’s ditch the notch, okay? The new iPhone X is beloved as a state-of-the-art wonder, but many critics are not keen on the notch at the top of the screen, the black bar that breaks up the top of the phone’s 5.8-inch display. So naturally, now there’s an app for that. ”Notch Remover,” was released this week, a a 99 cents app designed to help hide the notch on your iPhone X’s home and lock screens by adding a simple black bar atop your wallpapers to better blend the notch and display.
—Twitter verification: Twitter began reviewing verified accounts with the goal of removing verification from accounts that violate its policies such as promoting hate speech or violence or harassing others. Ousted were white nationalist Richard Spencer and Charlottesville white supremacist rally organizer Jason Kessler.
Apple’s got a new DNA: When Tim Cook took over as Apple CEO, the company got a new DNA, says author Andy Cunningham, a former early Apple employee. She explains what happened in her new book, “Get to Aha! Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition.”
The Long Exposure iPhone Trick: We reveal a really cool, but hidden photo trick on recent iPhones that turn moving water into glistening, flowing works of art.
Would you watch Amazon Video if it was free? Internet giant Amazon has many successes, but entertainment isn’t one of them. Now, reports are that Amazon is considering offering its fare for free, with ads. We weigh in on that one.
Five years of Candy Crush: After 5 years, 2.7 billion downloads and 1 trillion game plays, Candy Crush Saga celebrated birthday #5 this week. Riccardo Zacconi, the CEO of King Digital, which publishes the game, called in to chat about the amazing success of the mobile game.
Review: Google Pixel Buds: Ed Baig joins Talking Tech to weigh in on Google’s new bluetooth earbud answer to Apple’s AirPods.
Best iPhone Black Friday deals revealed: Walmart, Target and Best Buy have major discounts for the rarely discounted iPhone planned for Black Friday and we tell you all about them.
Today’s Black Friday countdown, the audio version.
Finally, we’ve been reporting about how easy it is to find, listen to and enjoy podcasts online. For a refresher on enjoying podcasts on your phone, computer, connected speakers, TV and the car, watch the video below.
Subscribe to the #TalkingTech newsletter, usat.ly/2qaIVVQ, the #TalkingTech podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein and wherever else you like to hear great online audio and follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @jeffersongraham.
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