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How can I buy apps from the play store with only a google account and no phone? Planning to buy the phone next week, but would like to grab the sale prices for various apps before they expire.

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Generally, the answer is No. But there is a way to buy the apps first. Find a friend who is willing to let you add your account to his/her phone, then you can buy the apps under your own account.

Edit: Here's an article I just came across.

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A similar train of thought - will using an Android emulator on a PC also allow one to remote install apps/purchase apps via the Play Store? –  Sparx Sep 8 '12 at 4:59
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