Having a better handle on personal finance is important for everybody. Accordingly, there are thousands of mobile applications developed for smart phones that track portfolios, perform simple and complex calculations, and assist in managing household budgets. But which app, and mobile platform is the right one for you?
The iPhone far and away offers the most comprehensive selection of apps, with more than 100,000 available in the iTunes App Store. The Droid and other devices using Google's Android mobile platform are emerging as a solid alternative with more than 12,000 apps available in the Android Market. Although BlackBerry is clearly behind the others, it does offer a decent selection of news and finance apps.
Here are a few noteworthy financial apps on the major mobile platforms, and how they compare.
Yahoo! Finance on the iPhone and Droid
Yahoo! Finance is one of the many established resources that makes itself available to mobile users across different platforms. The free iPhone app from Yahoo! Finance provides stock quotes, a ticker video, comparison graphs and real-time data streams. Yahoo! Finance on the Android platform is provided through a third party developer, MGeek. Apps created by MGeek are optimized for the mobile browser Dolphin. If you plan on adding multiple MGeek apps, Dolphin is useful, as it aggregates streams for several of its products. The BlackBerry app is also a great source for stock quotes.
Tip calculators for precision diners
Thinking about the tip is the last thing you want to calculate after enjoying a great meal and drinks. For the iPhone, a rather comprehensive tip calculator is Tips, which has a bright and easy interface for users. To use the free Tips app, enter the bill amount, select on a sliding scale how good the service was, and provide the number of people in the party. Tax and rounding features are additional app options.
A comparable app for the Google Anroid platform is the Nerdy Tip Calculator. With a napkin-scribble or standard interface, you provide the bill price, additional tax amount and the tip percentage. Select if you would like to tip before or after tax, and enter in the number of people in the party. Your totals are provided at every step of the tip calculations with this free mobile app.
Mint lacking mobile market dominance
One free app I would love to see on the Google Android platform is Mint, the personal finance tool. Mint is available on iPhone’s platform, but neither Droid nor BlackBerry have a dedicated app from Mint.
Created as a budget-tracking, personal finance tool, Mint is one of the best in its industry. As mobile devices become more heavily utilized for personal “concierge” services, apps which provide financial tools will be in more demand in their integrated mobile form.
With a wave of user requests for Mint to create apps for Google Android and BlackBerry, it is expected that Mint apps will be available for those platforms. With Mint being such a heavily-used service, it would be in the company's best interest to expand its mobile services to Google Android, as the platform is showing promise
PageOnce is a personal finance concierge
When it comes to personal budgeting, however, there are some apps available on the Google Android platform. Among the most notable is PageOnce, which can be used for tracking one’s finances. As an aggregate personal concierge tool, PageOnce is not specific to financing, but it does have the ability to pull data from multiple banks and financial services.
The PageOnce application on the Google Android platform weighs in at $9.99 for full functionality, though the iPhone version--called Personal Assistant--is less pricey at $6.99. Both versions of the PageOnce apps work well on the iPhone and Android devices, providing glimpses and notifications for your financial accounts.
The Exclusive Google Finance app
One finance-related perk the Google Android platform does have is integration with some of Google’s other services. The free Google Finance app is exclusive to the Android platform. It acts as a news portal, with quotes, stock tickers and details surrounding the market.
What Google offers is a sync option for updating your Google Finance portfolio. This automates much of your stock-related personal finance tracking. It is likely that Google will expand the integration options for apps run on its Android platform in the future.
At the end of the day
Not many finance-related apps seem to come from developers that are anxious to create mobile apps across the board. Google Android and the BlackBerry have far fewer apps that provide all-inclusive tools for tracking a wide range of finances, or have automated sync or update options to keep users informed at all times.
The advantage Android’s platform has, however, is the potential behind Google’s integration with its other platforms. The long-term effect of this level of integration could even infiltrate Apple’s iTunes App Store, as Google could create similar apps to run on the iPhone as well.