From the October 01, 2011 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Cutting the cord: Mobile trading 101

"Certain carriers have poor coverage in some locations, so you have to be conscious of where you are and how your service equates to your location. If you’re someplace that is very congested, there could be so much traffic going through the towers that you’ll have issues," Miller says. "If you have trouble with dropped calls or doing the basics on your mobile phone, then using your phone for anything more than market monitoring probably isn’t a great idea."

Even when you do have a good wireless connection, it’s important to note that speeds still will be slower than a landline connection and that should factor into trading decisions. "For those who are actively trading, there isn’t a mobile device out there that really is going to allow you to walk away from a desktop or higher-powered laptop because your speeds always are going to be slower," Cusick says.

Functionality

In addition to speed, traders need to make sure their mobile applications are capable of doing what they need them to do. This includes making sure the app supports any charts upon which you make trading decisions, the market orders you need and even going as basic as making sure it supports the products you want to trade. Not all products are available on every platform, with some offering trading in equities, but not options, etc. "Most of the mobile trading platforms are not quite as sophisticated as the trading platforms you typically would use on a desktop," Miller says. "They are getting better in regard to their charting capabilities and order placement, but I have not seen a mobile platform that really offers advanced order entry strategies, trailing stops or other features like that."

Consideration even needs to be given to where you get your trading applications. Miller says that there are numerous financial related apps on both the Android Market and the Apple App Store, and as such traders need to be sure they trust the source of anything they put on their phone or tablet. "Look at the source of the application. It’s always user-beware anytime you’re downloading an application. Do some research online on the broker behind the app to make sure it’s going to meet your needs," she says.

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