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Stocks: Great value compared to the alternatives 4/5

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by abid8740, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. abid8740

    abid8740 Lurker
    Thread Starter
    Jun 7, 2010

    Jun 7, 2010
    1. Introduction
    2. Features and highlights
    3. Alternatives
    4. Comparisons
    5. Pros
    6. Cons
    7. Closing thoughs

    Financial tools have always been lackluster on the Android platform, when compared to it's competitor the iPhone which has various options available, such as Reuters, Bloomberg & Google Finance. This is not because of the limitation of the OS or hardware but simply reflective on the maturity of the iPhone Appstore.

    As Android matures so does the software that is developed and fortunately for the Android platform it has the resources provided by Google which is the world's largest human information index so it comes as no surprise that applications exist on Android market that query Google Finance for stock portfolios.

    This review will look at the Stocks application from a value added point of view for the user. Comparing it with different stock applications and mobile sites to see what sets the Stocks application apart.

    Features and highlights
    Right off the bat the first thing one notices on the Stocks application is that it will automatically pull up your portfolio from Google Finance and shows at a glance how your portfolio is doing. One thing that stands out immediately is that a weighted portfolio return is missing at the end of each portfolio. This is a pretty vital piece of information that is overlooked in the application as well as Google Finance app and the only way to get this is to load the Google Finance site directly into the Android Browser.
    Weighted portfolio return on Google Finance site

    The application lets you look at individual stock fundamentals and technical charts at a glance if you click them in the portfolio , virtually all the information that you can get from Google Finance (website or android application). The top screenshot is Stocks and the bottom is Google Finance. Now the only big difference, beyond the color is that Stocks also lets you see non American stocks on your portfolio and query their fundamentals and charts and for me this is really important since I invest in the TSX and other markets. Google finance simply doesn’t show you the other stocks listed in foreign exchanges which is quiet frustrating because it can mislead if you aren't aware of this. This is one big downloading feature for the Stocks application, the author claims it supports markets in the US, Canada, UK, HK and Japan.
    You can also swipe left & right on the sides to go between stocks, this gives it a flowing interface and lets you browse through detailed news reporting for your stocks without constantly hitting the back button and selecting the next one.
    Clicking on a news item within a certain stock will take you to the site within the application, this is really nice since you aren't switching between applications and can easily press the back button to go back to your portfolio. The ugly part is you end up giving up the bottom portion of your limited screen space to Google ads.
    Clicking on the chart brings up a menu letting you select the time horizon for your technical charts. Unfortunately the chart doesn’t get bigger then what you saw in the previous screenshot showing Palm's fundamental s and chart. There is still a long way to go to compare to iPhones free Bloomberg application which lets you interact with the chart in various ways and perform technical analysis, but it is a start.
    Clicking the menu button brings up refresh, settings and edit button. The settings button brings you to this screen. It lets you visually adjust the appearance for the application so if you aren't a fan of the black background you can make it look exactly like Google Finance. You can also set the refresh interval for the application's update period (minimum of 10 seconds and maximum of 60 seconds). There is a help button that takes you to the authors site ( http://sites.google.com/site/androidstocks/) where you can look at the FAQ's, version history and a feature request page (http://groups.google.com/group/androidstocks/browse_thread/thread/a2722cd4468502df). The author seems keen enough at updating the application and hearing feedback on the application since there is even a feedback button within the settings menu.

    Clicking the edit button lets you interactively delete stocks by hitting the minus sign and removing them and also lets you sort the listing by dragging the icon on the left side up and down. This is a very nice touch and makes the application very simple to use and build portfolios.
    You can also search and add stocks through the bottom textbox. If you aren't sure about a ticker symbol just type in the company name and it will come up with all the matches and let you pick one as shown below:

    One thing I did wish it had was being able to query a stock without adding it to a portfolio.
    You can also add, edit portfolios by going into the edit screen and then hitting menu again and clicking "edit portfolio". This brings up the same interactive interface and lets you work with your portfolios.

    There are a few alternatives for the tracking stocks:
    1. Google Finance application - This is the original Google application but it lacks tracking non-US exchanges and doesn't have the same interactive portfolio manager that Stocks has. It does come with a widget that you can put on your screen which is pretty cool
    2. Google Finance website - This is the full blown site you can view on the Android browser, it is more bandwidth intense but will show you a lot more detailed information. It also lets you screen stocks and view other financial research sites. If you don't have Froyo 2.2 you will miss out on the interactive flash charts that Google uses, which is big.
    3. Stocks pro - is the pro edition costing $6.99 for this application, the big thing you get is the ads are removed, beyond that I did not see any other major offering that would justify the price tag.
    4. Stock Status (http://androidapplications.com/37255-stock-status) - This application tracks your portfolio in real time and provides a neat way of showing profits and loss, it also tracks non us stocks. It does not sync with Google Portfolios. It also costs $4.99

    Overall for the free price point the Stocks application offers a superior value offering for on the go portfolio tracking. The $6.99 price tag seems a little high for removing the ad for the pro version and the stock status application does not sync with Google finance to offer a desktop interface for your portfolio. Google Finance and other finance websites are a good alternative given you have Froyo and downloaded Flash on your phone but the snappiness of the application interface is hard to beat.

    • Free application
    • Author updates often & takes user requests
    • Non-US stocks
    • Syncs with Google portfolio
    • Easy to use portfolio management
    • News shown within the application

    • The non pro version has ads
    • The stocks are updated every 10-60 seconds, not real time
    • The charts show very basic timeline and offer no interaction
    • Should have a widget that lets you see your portfolio from the Android desktop
    • Querying stock prices without adding to portfolio
    • Should offer more sources of fundamental analysis (Reuters, Bloomberg for example)

    Closing Thoughts
    As Android adaption increases the quality and effort put into applications will start reflecting what is available on market applications. The author for this application actively updates his app so I expect Stocks to be in the forefront adding new features and research databases. For the free price point this is defiantly a worthwhile stock since it lets you easily manage a portfolio and view non American stocks. I would give this application a 4/5 for the value it adds over its alternative and would recommend it.


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