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Any good carpenter will tell you you need the right tool for the right job and so it goes with portfolio monitoring. It is no secret for those technically inclined that we are in a convergence of the cell phone and the desktop computer with the smartphone. It is also no secret that the national rage in smartphones is Apple's iPhone. I don't own an iPhone because the service plans are too expensive for my budget at the present time, but I do own an iPod Touch which Steven Jobs calls "an iPhone with training wheels". Basically, the iPod Touch is an iPhone without the cell phone capabilities - you can still do e-mail and run all of the applications if you are in a WiFi hub. Good enough for me because I'm usually within stone's throw of a WiFi hub.

I have tried many of the portfolio trackers available for the iPhone and iPod Touch including the one that comes standard with all Apple mobile products. Most of them are free and do a decent job of giving you real time quotes in a watch list and some also give you news feeds and charts, but they just don't cut the mustard if you are serious about your investments. PortfolioLive is different. It really does the job and although it does cost you $5.99 at the iTunes App Store, it is money well spent. I'd highly recommend it. Produced by Turing Studios, their programmers just know what they are doing.

There are 45,000 applications and counting for the iPhone and it is difficult to discern which ones are best for business news. There are a few freebies that are just outstanding not only in their news content but in the manner that the application is laid out. The ones I use the most and count on for up to the minute financial information are The New York Times, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. CNBC just released a new app for the iPhone with video feeds and portfolio tracking, but it is only in its first incarnation and needs some work. However, the video clips from the day's broadcast are a good bonus if you can't get to a television during the day.

What happens if you happen to be in the other camp and have a Blackberry? I have never owned a Blackberry, but I do know that TinyStocks offers StockManager for portfolio tracking on the Blackberry, Windows Mobile and the Palm operating system. I had a Palm Pilot years ago and used StockManager and thought it was a terrific application. Here is another group of programmers that know how to build an investing application.