Looking for Black Friday bargains in the App Store

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Pity the poor App Store. Oh, sure—it has its 200-million -downloads-in-the-first-hundred-or-so-days milestone to fall back on. But with shoppers flocking to stores both physical and virtual on the day after Thanksgiving, does the App Store get to join in on the Black Friday fun? Not if you’re counting on Apple to publicize it. While the company has touted Black Friday sales at the Apple Store, it hasn’t really uttered a peep about App Store deals. And that’s a shame, because there are definitely deals to be had.

I became aware of that Thursday when posting a review of Billy Frontier, the sci-fi shoot ‘em up from Pangea Software. Normally, Billy Frontier sells for $8; it’s on sale for $1 and its not the only Pangea title to see such a discount. According to the app’s page on the App Store, Pangea cut prices on several of its apps as part of Black Friday sale. Bugdom 2 and Nanosaur 2 join Billy Frontier in the 88-percent off bin. Pangea’s $2 games—Cro-Mag Rally and Enigmo—cost a buck as well.

Sadly, there’s no feature on the App Store’s front page to alert you of these limited-time bargains. And there should be—other parts of Apple’s iTunes Store make note of sales and special offers, whether it’s discounted albums, free downloads or movies for less than $5. It seems like it wouldn’t take much to add a similar section to the App Store, and such a move would definitely be in the best interest of both Apple and its third-party partners. Customers would probably like it, too.

But fear not, frugal iPhone and iPod touch owner. Even if Apple doesn’t add any sort of sale notification system to the App Store, you’ve still got a couple ways to keep track of falling app prices. If Black Friday sales are your immediate concern, then consider this list of 50-plus apps that appear to be free as part of some holiday promotion. (Hat tip to reader Doug Lynch, via Digg.

For a more permanent approach, consider the Price Changes page at AppShopper. The page lists the app’s old price and what it costs now along with a link to the product page within the App Store. Happy hunting.

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