Back in the last century before the dot-com crash, there were a lot of people who thought they could get rich and retire young by becoming playing the stock market while maintaing a regular job. The problem was that phones were not smart, notebook computers were really disconnected devices most of the time, and desktops belonged to “the company” and couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be used for non-company activities (like stock trading). There were call centers maintained by discount brokerage firms. So, people tweaked their notebooks and used analog modems to dial in to trading facilities. But, none of these solutions were good ones. A lot has changed in the decade since the dot-com crash. But, even I still wonder if there is a way to trade in stocks effectively from a mobile device. Smartphones are great but their screens are too small to perform resource. Netbooks are great but can take a while to boot or wake up from sleep mode.
The iPad seems to address these issues. And, the 3G model could take care of the connectivity issue. So, when I was told about E*TRADE’s free iPad app, I asked if I could test it with a dummy account to get a feel for how it worked even though I’m not an E*TRADE customer. E*TRADE provided me with a test account. And, I spent a few minutes during the day while the market was open playing with it.
I don’t think the E*TRADE iPad app’s interface is optimal for the task of research and trading. But, it was good enough for me to read through news, perform some quick research, excute it a trade (buy) and then set a limit sell order. All this was done while walking the halls going about my daily routine. The only feature I couldn’t use was the CNBC live streaming feed which is only available to frequent traders.
If you have a MiFi or Sprint OverDrive, you don’t have to wait for the 3G iPad to become available. These 3G to WiFi routers can give the iPad an always connected experience right now.