[Update 5/5/09 - E*TRADE Mobile Pro for iPhone now available.]
The financial industry, aside from taking a beating on the wall street lately, has been cautiously slow in introducing mobile access and applications. And as they should be cautious; considering how easily people can lose their mobile phones and end up causing unimaginable catastrophe to ther finances. However, having mobile access to financial services is somewhat inevitable considering folks in Japan have been using their mobile devices as a form of payment for years.
While mobile banking is starting to take off in the U.S. from the likes of Chase, Bank of America and Citibank, the stocks and brokerage firms have not actively participated in this arena until E*TRADE's new Mobile Pro, exclusively available as a BlackBerry application.
I took my 8830 to etrade.com/mobile and it quickly prompted me to provide/confirm my email address and asked if I was a customer. The next screen provided a download link which took about 30 seconds to install. After that process, I found the E*TRADE Mobile Pro icon within applications; upon launching it for the first time, it required me to complete the installation by resetting the device. From an installation standpoint, this is one of the most complicated installation process for a mobile application.
The resetting took a while and not sure why this is taking so long. At first, I thought it had crashed my BlackBerry. Later on this afternoon, I decided to keep letting the phone reset, and after about 10 minutes or so, my BlackBerry finally finished resetting itself and things went on normally. So be patient.
Once everything is up and running, the application proves to be very cool. I was able to login to check on my account(s) balance, real time quotes, news and pretty much everything E*TRADE platform has to offer via a dynamic mobile experience. The navigation UI is simple and intuitive with the trackball. In settings, you can set the time interval before it times out (default is 5 minutes, which is very nice for your protection. Overall, I am very pleased with E*TRADE Mobile Pro and hope to see this application rolled out to other mobile platforms (ie. Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android, etc.). I am hoping the rest of the investment industry will soon bring their services to mobile platforms so everyone can check on their investments on the go. There have been times when I am on a road trip and knowing the market will react to some news, and would have loved to be able to execute some trades over my mobile device, thanks to E*TRADE, this is now possible!