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mobileTWS Review - Interactive Broker's Android App

mobileTWS running on Motorola DroidInteractive Brokers, one of the best brokers for trading stocks, futures and options, has upgraded its mobile platform with the release of mobileTWS for Android. Previously, an IB trader on a mobile device like an Android smartphone or tablet, could only access IB's mobile platform using the web interface which was designed for older devices using WAP technology. IB's current offering is however leaps and bounds better than the old plain web interface. Other than the Android version, IB also has mobileTWS versions for the iPhone and iPad.

What mobileTWS Offers

mobileTWS is actually separated into three parts; a free section not requiring login details, a secure section requiring an IB login and token authentication, and a faux data section which allows simulated or paper trading. The free section offers delayed quotes, charts and scanners while providing a real-time alert service. The alert service comes in very handy allowing quick access to set alert levels without logging in.

Some of the other mobileTWS for Android features include:

  • Access to real-time streaming quotes and charts
  • Real-time Alerts with email notification
  • Real-time Market Scanners
  • Secure login through IB's Secure Login System
  • Support for trading stocks, options, futures, futures options and forex worldwide
  • Access to Daily IB Market Briefs
  • It can route orders using IB's SmartRouting technology, which locates for the best price and dynamically routes and re-routes all or part of your order to achieve optimal execution
  • Quick access to trade reports, portfolio and account information
  • BookTrader Trading Tool
  • Free customer support

Performance of mobileTWS and What Can Be Improved

The app is not a resource hog and it runs quite fast on a 1 GHz android device with 512 MB RAM running Froyo 2.2.2. Streaming quotes work well, even for fast trading instruments like ES and NQ. There are some minor bugs like the last done price for certain instruments not shown until one brings up a chart. One major gripe however is not allowing for more than one connection per account. If your desktop TWS is running, logging on to mobileTWS will automatically log you off from the desktop session. Some other features that will be useful to implement will be to allow auto rolling of futures contract and possibly allow streaming charts. However, the exclusion of streaming charts is understandable because streaming charts may be too resource intensive resulting in high battery drain issues.

BookTrader is a surprise inclusion but honestly, an Android phone's screen real estate is just too limited to safely use this feature without having a "fat-finger" incident. An Android tablet may be a better option to trade using BookTrader on mobileTWS.

Overall, IB's mobileTWS provides adequate functionality for traders who cannot be at their workstations to monitor their positions. Albeit, trading on a screen size of about 4" smartphone or 10" tablet is challenging as compared to a laptop or desktop computer, the whole appeal for road warriors is to be still able to access your IB account from virtually anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

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