People, get ready. Black Friday is on the march and will be here sooner than you can say “Oh please no, not again!” For those of you brave Honeycomb tablet owners who plan to dare the chill of winter for the opportunity to kickstart your Holiday shopping and save a mess of money in the process, we give you the following 9 indispensible Black Friday shopping apps. In the tradition of trying to save you as much money as possible, they’re all free!
TGI Black Friday 2011
Billed as an app that’ll make you privy to upcoming deals before they’re even announced in the paper, “TGI Black Friday 2011” uses your Honeycomb tablet’s GPS location to automatically populate the most recently updated deals by retailer and delivers on that promise handily. You can sort forthcoming (or already occurring) specials by category, by store, or by most popular – a function that comes in pretty handy if you need help coming up with killer gift ideas for the person who’s already got one of everything. App functions offer a link to the retailer’s website, social media and email sharing options, and the ability to favorite and email items of interest. It’s no frills and not particularly tablet optimized, but it’s one of those don’t-leave-home-without apps you’ll later kick yourself for not having.
If you have to ask what good a Twitter app will do for you in your Black Friday shopping efforts, that’s a dead giveaway that you absolutely cannot go without downloading “TweetCaster”. The fact is, the number of retail establishments that have finally caught up to speed and have hopped on board the Twitter train has grown enormously in just the past few months leading up to the most critical shopping season of the whole year – and having an app that’ll push notifications of impending sales to you in real time will be a sweet addition to your Holiday shopping tool kit. TweetCaster bears the distinction of being a third-party Twitter app that literally blows the doors off of the official one in both functionality and appearance, which has been optimized for the far more roomy and handsome Honeycomb tablet screens.
Catalogue by The Find
If you’re old enough to remember the good old days of mailorder catalogues, then you’re probably old enough to feel nostalgic for them. Until, that is, you remember how unwieldy and bulky they were, in which case you’ll be tickled pink by an app called “Catalogue by The Find”, which essentially crams all of your favorite catalogues into your Honeycomb tablet without wrinkling a single page or adding an ounce of weight. Catalogue makes full use of your Honeycomb tablet’s extra screen space, but the best part about it might just be its Facebook compatibility, which is a great way of sending reminders to yourself about a product or even creating a public wish list for all to see.
RedLaser Barcode & QR Scanner
There are some who’ll claim that barcode scanner apps are the greatest thing to have ever landed in the palms of frugal shoppers, and you won’t find any argument to the contrary here. But where RedLaser puts all other scanners to shame is in its ability to read both barcodes and QR codes – and to do so without being finicky. Where many barcode scanners might bark at you for not holding still enough, RedLaser is imbued with a highly functioning barcode recognition capability that nabs the information you hold up to it and spits back all you need to know to ensure you zero in on the product you’re looking for at the lowest price in town – or even online. Hands down, the most impressive feature of this particular application is its ability to track down books in nearby libraries as a part of its local search function. Beat that, ShopSavvy.
No self-respecting Black Friday app list would be complete without some mention of Google. And the “Google Shopper” application – which isn’t exactly an app you’d accuse of being too Honeycomb friendly but isn’t half bad, either – is a great place to start. Not just a great tool to help you map out your Black Friday excursions before you even leave the house, Google Shopper also puts into your hands the ability to hunt down the nearest bar for a stiff drink if you find yourself needing a break from all that hideous mob madness. In true Google fashion, any search can be either manually tapped in or spoken. The best part about this app? You can search for, find, and redeem Google offers for cut-rate deals in your neck of the woods – or you can scope out the deals going down in other metro areas around the country if you’ve got a shopping vacation in mind.
Some people approach Black Friday like a special ops mission: get in early, get out clean and head for home ASAP. But if you’re really interested in testing your mettle, you’ll likely want to make a full day out of it – in which case, you’re going to need to take the occasional break to recharge and get some nourishment. Poynt is an application that accesses your current position via GPS and pulls up a comprehensive list of nearby restaurants by proximity, by name, by cuisine, and by those offering special coupon deals. You can also use Poynt to hunt down close-by gas stations (prices included) and if you find yourself sent over the brink and in need of entertainment to help you unwind, you’ll also discover event and movie theater listings complete with a rundown of the current top 10 box office hits.
No economical shopping mission can be successful without a physical map to plot the shortest route between two distances… or three distances, or even ten. That’s where “BestRoute Free” comes into play. But what’s truly impressive about this application is that all you have to do is tell it where you intend to go, and it’ll use a combination of GPS, distance calculation, and common sense to put your route into logical order for you. Choose your destinations using your current location, your address book contacts, by Google search, or manual entry. If you fancy the idea of running circles around other Black Friday shoppers on minimum gas and maximum economy of movement, BestRoute Free is an indispensible inclusion to your arsenal.
Tasks+ Todo List Manager
There are tons of people out there who have absolutely no problem elbowing their way through throngs of stampeding customers to wrap their sweaty fists around the price deal of the year. The only thing that stands in the way of many is the inability to plan for such meticulous excursions. After all, who wants to discover at the last minute before heading out the door to stand in line at the nearest Best Buy that the gas tank is empty? “Tasks+ Todo List Manager” is an application suited for any time of the year, but one you’ll make particular use of during the Holiday shopping season and the final countdown headed into Black Friday. Don’t want to forget to bring that helmet that could just save you a skull fracture in the fracas? Task it. Tasks+ has customizable features and can also be synced with Google Tasks for a far more efficient experience.
AccuWeather for Honeycomb
If you happen to live in San Diego or Miami Beach, you probably don’t have to worry that the weather will put a sudden and unexpected kibosh on your plans to bring Black Friday to its knees and make it yield pure green. But those who happen to reside in parts of the country where the snow’s been known to fly and the rain to come down sideways know that having a good reliable weather app at their fingertips can be critical to getting them through the last Friday in November safe and sound and sans pneumonia. “AccuWeather Honeycomb” is without a doubt one of the most highly functioning and attractive Honeycomb tablet weather apps on the market, boasting full screen radar and satellite weather images, current conditions, forecast conditions, local risk indexes, weather headlines, and frequently updated video broadcasts. Keep this sucker on you at all times if you’re concerned about having your Black Friday plans smitten by Mother Nature’s cruel hand.
Black Friday Turkeys
Some Honeycomb tablet applications beg to be shared, toasted, and boasted about. Others deserve to be ignored. Still, there are some apps that are just so lacking that you want to hold them up as a perfect example of the ultimate epic fail. Here’s our short beef list of apps that should have been much better, but weren’t.
• Google Catalogs: Strangely enough, Google’s gone and made an app that services the very product they’ve been busy trying to overtake: the iPad. Although Google Catalogs has been available on iTunes since August, to date there’s nothing available for Android users even though it’s apparently “coming soon.” Nice one, Google. This one goes down as a major burn to your loyal devotees.
• Toys “R” Us Shopping: Why bother creating an application that’s a stripped down, far less functional version of its own website? More like Letdowns “R” Us.
• Target: Great if you’re looking for the nearest Target store based on your GPS location, but otherwise lousy for locating special seasonal deals. Even the built-in barcode scanner isn’t enough to save this boring, underwhelming app.
• eBay: Yet another underwhelming shopping experience that mimics a stripped down version of the far more visually appealing website. For tablet owners, the lack of dynamic visuals is nothing short of a waste. You’ll have a better experience simply hopping onto your tablet browser and visiting the full site.