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Switched Black Friday 2010 Guide

black friday guide As with the holiday season in general, the post-Thanksgiving shopping panic just keeps getting longer. What started out as a one-day discount bonanza known as Black Friday has now spawned an online-only counterpart in Cyber Monday. This year, though, retailers are offering steep discounts early and often. Many outlets are now adding Thanksgiving Day to the holiday shopping schedule, and some have extended deals for the entire week (Amazon) or the entire month (Newegg).

Read on after the break for the best deals, the best places to find deals, and the best tools for finding the best deals.

Where to Browse

There are plenty of sites that allow you to simply browse through the endless stream of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. and post links to online discounts, scans of print ads and circulars, as well as general news about the ritual kickoff of the holiday shopping season. Our friends at TUAW will be keeping an eye on all Apple-related holiday deals. There are also broader deal-tracking sites like TechDealDigger and Dealnews that monitor sales year round -- and they don't take it easy on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. If you're deal-hungry and nerdy, Deals Vista has a spreadsheet of Black Friday deals that includes many smaller and lesser-known chains.

If you want to make sure you're getting the best deal online, you can grab a browser extension like Window Shopper, Price Blink or Invisible Hand, which automatically check the Web for better prices.

Early Deals

Although Newegg has been running an orgy of retail discounts all month, the site kicked off its deepest Black Friday discounts earlier today. On sale for $699, this Gateway desktop PC features a 6-core CPU from AMD, eight gigabytes of RAM, a 1.5 terabyte hard drive and an ATI Radeon graphics card with one gig of dedicated memory. Available for $1,520 when used with the coupon code EMCZZNN54, this package includes a 46-inch Samsung 3-D TV, a Blu-Ray player and the Shrek 3-D Starter Kit (plus two pair of 3-D glasses).

Amazon has been offering deals on hundreds of items all week, including the 64 GB iPod touch for $369. The most notable, though, is the inventory-clearing deal on the Kindle 2, for an almost-insane $89 (starts at 9am PT on Friday). These models include 3G connectivity, beating out Best Buy's $99 deal for the Wi-Fi-enabled NOOK. (Best Buy is offering a number of deals, but its best package -- a 32-inch Samsung HD TV and a Wii for $399 -- is, sadly, in-store only.)

Sales Resources

Tomorrow, though, log onto major retailers' sites before you sit down to your turkey and football, and you'll find plenty of deals to be had. Kohl's, Radio Shack, Best Buy, Macy's, Target and Walmart are all starting their Black Friday online deals tomorrow. Most retailers are also offering more sales than they have in the past, casting the widest net possible for your consumer dollar. Apple will also be offering exclusive Black Friday deals, but the company's discounts are often underwhelming. (You're better off with third-party retailers like MacMall, which is offering up to $400 off select Mac computers.) Even Microsoft is getting in on the action, with some big discounts on Xbox 360 titles.

But, with all this shopping madness, don't forget what the holidays are really about: stuffing your face until you fall into a food coma, and are excused from having any kind of conversation with the hillbilly side of the family. Happy Holidays!

Hot Deals (updated regularly)

Tags: amazon, BestBuy, black friday, black friday deals, BlackFriday, BlackFridayDeals, CyberMonday, deals, hgg, newegg, sales, shopping, thanksgiving, top, web