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One of the most important gadgets in many people's lives is the smartphone; the do-everything device can easily become a necessity for those who like to stay connected at all times. But that doesn't mean consumers should pay astronomical prices to obtain this technological lifeline. Luckily, we found good deals on smartphones during Black Friday weekend in 2011, and we expect to see the same in 2012.
Right before Black Friday last year, Amazon did something crazy. The wireless store dropped prices on a huge selection of Android smartphones to 1 cent during its Penny Pincher Sale. These were not last year's models, either. The Motorola DROID RAZR, which had just come out barely a week before, was slashed to 1 cent, as were other top of the line phones. A day after Black Friday, both Wirefly and AT&T chimed in, offering a wide selection of phones for the marginally cheaper price of "free."
These sales made a huge splash last year, and since it has become increasingly common for hot Android phones to drop to $0 after a few months anyway, we feel confident in saying that we will see a similar sale on smartphones again this year. In fact, we might see other retailers get in on the action too, perhaps expecting Amazon to repeat the popular promotion. Therefore, we suggest looking for 1-cent and free smartphones starting as early as the week before Black Friday and continuing through to Cyber Monday. Last year's sales included some of the hottest phones, so it stands to reason that we could see such discounts on models like the new Motorola RAZR line (including the MAXX HD, HD, and M), as well as the Samsung Galaxy S III, and many, many more.
If you were hoping that smartphone deals might be even better this year, then prepare to be disappointed. Our records indicate that we've seen just a handful of "for profit" cell phone deals (in which a large credit or mail-in rebate nets you more than what you paid for the phone) in the last two years. So no, you won't see negative-dollar prices on smartphones. Just be happy with free!
"What about the iPhone 5?" you may ask. Well, we were surprised last year to find a sale at Fry's Electronics that discounted the entire line of iPhone 4S phones — which had been released just six weeks earlier — to $25 below what Apple was charging directly. There's a slim chance that Fry's (or some other merchant that wants to offer an attention-grabbing deal) could do the same for the iPhone 5 this year. If an iPhone 5 sale happens it will likely be the only Black Friday sale on the new phone, as the Fry's deal was the only offer we found last year on the iPhone 4S. (For more info on Apple products on Black Friday, check out our Apple predictions page.)
Summary: Black Friday Predictions for Smartphones
Bottom photo credit: iPhone Hacks