Quotrek Demo Review-Intro

Discussion in 'Trading Software' started by signals, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. signals


    QuoTrek Demo Review

    Date of Demo: 4/12/04

    Platforms Supported: Palm (Palm), PocketPC (Microsoft), Blackberry (RIMM)**

    Site: www.quotrek.com

    Publisher: eSignal

    Price: $49.95 stand-alone, $25 for eSignal subscriber add-on
    (exchange fees not included)

    QuoTrek is quote and charting software for handheld devices. The goal of the product is to provide real-time quotes and charts to traders on-the-go.

    The demo began with background on the original QuoTrek device which was a walkie-talkie looking device that received quotes via a radio signal in limited areas. One lady present at the demo lamented that they shut the radio service off a few years ago in Miami turning her favorite device into a brick. She was eager to see the new QuoTrek which bore little resemblance to its predecessor.

    Overall my impression of the software was very positive with a few minor complaints which will be highlighted. The demo only showed the Palm and PocketPC platforms. The Blackberry platform was not used for a reason I will explain later.

    There is at least one other competing service to QuoTrek out there. I am not familiar with their product so I cannot provide a competitive analysis in this review.
  2. signals



    QuoTrek currently allows you to have two portfolios of fifteen symbols each.
    Displayed default columns are Last, Change, High, Low. Columns are editable. There is an "Auto Scroll Mode" that sequences through changed symbols in a portfolio displaying an OHLC bar like the Quote Board in eSignal on the left hand side and a small list of the portfolio on the right hand side. An admitted problem with the "Auto Scroll Mode" was that it went to fast, and was practically unusable. It was promised that this would be addressed in an upcoming release. A better option would be stay on one symbol or click on the right-hand side of the pane -- in the portfolio list -- to select the symbol you wish you to view the detail bar on. Another nice feature is that QuoTrek can also display Options on the portfolio symbols.

    News is also available. It was stated that the newsfeed corresponds to the basic eSignal news subscription.

    Surprisingly, alerts (of any kind) are not available on QuoTrek. This seemed to be the number one asked question.

    Another big surprise was that you cannot use QuoTrek and eSignal at the same time. It was said that this is an exchange restriction related to the data feed. When you login to QuoTrek you use your normal eSignal login so you can't be logged in twice. The downside to this is that if you need alerts and are relying on the machine at home to generate and send them to your Cellphone/PDA, you can't get them because you no longer have a data feed there!

    There is something totally separate, called a Desktop Companion Streamer that provides streaming quotes through a PC browser. To me this feature was uninteresting and of questionable value. The only potential plus is that it in the future it will allow you to customize your QuoTrek portfolios.


    Common chart styles were available: bar, candlestick, line . Currently candlesticks are black and white and are not colored as in the traditional eSignal platform. The charts and fonts were crisp and easy to view for me. This is probably not a product for people with poor near vision--these screens are small! Volume is displayed as subdued bars in the chart background. Standard charting intervals are available down to one minute. Realize that shorter intervals, such as one minute, will require greater bandwidth from your wireless connection and may not be possible on some providers. I saw no problems with the backfill of data on the charts as you moved back in time on a symbol using the scroll buttons at the bottom right of the window.

    Technical Indicators:

    The list of technical studies available for the charts is very complete, including such standards as MA's, Bollinger Bands, and CCI. Both upper and lower studies are available. Happily multiple studies can be put on one chart without much problem. The caveat to this is some handhelds with weaker processors may die under the load of too many indicators at once. From a practical standpoint, too many indicators become quickly unreadable on a small screen.

    During the hands-on portion of the demo, I noticed a strange problem with the upper technical indicators, many of them did not become valid until halfway across the screen! For example bollinger bands and MA's on a hourly MSFT chart started at zero and then moved up to finally reach their appropriate position halfway through the chart. This meant that QuoTrek was probably not using enough of the previous period's data to accurately generate these indicators. This was most visible on the Palm platform, but I believe it existed to a lesser extent on the PocketPC as well. This is probably the worst flaw I saw, as on a small three inch screen it is important that all the indicators are valid for the period displayed. They seemed unaware of this issue when I brought it up.
  3. signals



    QuoTrek was stated to have a memory footprint of approximately 50kb which is small enough to fit into nearly any modern handheld device. It was stated that this software platform does not have support for EFS due to technical constraints which was blamed on the limited hardware. With the speed of the processors in many of the newer handhelds I question the validity of this statement. Perhaps they are trying to preserve backwards compatibility with older models, but I believe it is more of a business decision than anything.

    The Blackberry is listed as a compatible platform, however it is really suitable only for companies willing to buy a $5k Blackberry Enterprise Server. I asked if eSignal thought about offering a B.E.S. service to individual users and there were no immediate plans. With the proliferation of Blackberry devices (and RIMM's success) it is surprising that this was overlooked. One difference highlighted was that Blackberrys can only use half of their display for the chart. Since the Blackberry device was not demo-ed and some QuoTrek platform differences exist, please do your own due diligence before considering this platform.

    Wireless Connection:

    The hardest part of actually using QuoTrek may be in figuring out what device or devices to use and which network (cellular) provider to use.

    The demo on the handhelds ran over an 802.11b network which is representative of what you might find at a "Hot-Spot". Hot-Spots can now be found in such places as Starbucks and Panera bread. For a small monthly fee you can use Hot-Spots nationwide. The most well-known Hot-Spot brand is currently run by T-mobile.

    Typically the non-caffeine-addicted user of QuoTrek will want this to be available to them more often than when they are at Starbucks. For this you need a cell phone and cellular provider that supports data service. This means you will not be dialing your ISP up on the cell phone to make a connection like in the "old days". Instead the data flows over your cellular connection through a data mode "separate" from your normal voice calls.

    Different cellular providers not only differ wildly in the way and speed they get data to you: PCS, EDGE, GPRS; but, also in the way they bill you for using the data service. If you plan to use this service frequently beware of plans and providers with small fixed monthly megabyte allotments. AT&T Wireless new EDGE network is supposed to be the fastest but is also the most expensive at $79 per month for unlimited data. The big three you should consider are T-mobile (GPRS), Sprint (PCS), and AT&T (GRPS/EDGE).

    Unfortunately, no reliable bandwidth requirement figures were given. Data rates can swing wildly depending upon your signal strength. It will be interesting to see if a fully loaded QuoTrek with 30 symbols can keep up in the real world on these providers.

    Once you have chosen a cellular provider, you have to decide on the platform, what PDA will you use and how will you connect it? This choice may be limited or made easier by what your provider offers.

    Platform choices: PDA and data-capable cellphone, smartphone with integrated PDA, or PDA with add-on cellular card.

    If you decide on the PDA and data-capable cell phone combo you have to connect them somehow, typically either via cable (old school) or bluetooth (high tech).

    Smart Phones that integrate the functions of a cell phone and PDA in one are probably the easiest method for the novice to get up and running with QuoTrek.

    In addition, eSignal is working with a company called Xview in Austin that is offering a turnkey solution (PDA with add-in cell card) to alleviate the above complexities. If you are a technical neophyte that may be the best way for you to go.
  4. signals



    Like a phoenix, this first release of QuoTrek holds great promise for the return of a product that continues to rely on radio waves. For a first release, the product is remarkably complete. Hopefully eSignal will quickly resolve the few bugs and issues raised in this review.

    I'm almost afraid to say that I am surprised at the very reasonable price being charged for this service, for fear the price will be increased! For technically savvy traders that currently use eSignal it is a no-brainer. I consider this product a must-have for any trader on-the-go!

    If you are interested after reading this review, I encourage you to view the short webex demo available on their website.


    Quote availability almost anywhere


    Powerful TA Indicators

    Options Lookup

    Compatible with most PDA's


    No alerts

    Auto Scroll too fast (no pause)

    Limited number of symbols (30)

    Cannot use desktop eSignal and QuoTrek simultaneously.

    Blackberry users have to have Enterprise server ($5K).

    I hope this review has been helpful and informative to you. Please post any comments or feedback that you have.

    Review (C) 2004 "Signals"
  5. eSignal Support

    eSignal Support eSignal

    We appreciate such a comprehensive review like this. Thank you. Just two initial responses to these two cons noted above:

    1. QuoTrek on the Blackberry device for non-BES users went into beta just this week so users won't need to have the Enterprise Server. See this notice on Central for more information.

    2. When it comes to running eSignal and QuoTrek together, you have a choice and it's basically dictated by whether you want to pay exchange fees twice. If you only plan on using one of the devices at a time, you can link them so that only one is active at a time, hence we can charge you single device exchange fees. If you want them running at the same time, that's considered a second device and we have to charge the exchange fees twice. We wanted users to have the flexibility to choose which plan works for them.

    Thanks again.

    P.S. Title of thread uses term "QuoteTracker" instead of QuoTrek so I almost didn't read it. Not sure if it's too late to edit or not.
  6. signals


    Your welcome. :)

    I am glad to hear you have addressed the Blackberry issue. I use Palm OS personally, but I know several traders that love their Blackberrys and won't consider switching.

    To clarify #2, does this mean that for a current eSignal customer you can do it as an add-on for $25, and then just pay the additional exchange fees, or is a whole new account created?

    Let me know if you have any news or updates on the indicator bug from your developers.

    Sorry for the thread title--freudian slip I guess. I asked the moderator Mr. Soros to fix it as it won't allow me to edit it.
  7. Quotrek main biggest problems are:

    -No Zooming within time intervals, or moving charts from
    right to left.

    -No streaming Data, you have to reload the charts everytime
    to have realtime charts, it's not real streaming.

    -the colums on the right side that shows prices is too wide,
    why not make it thiner so we can have more price bars shown
    on charts at any time frame.

    Until this major problems aren't solved, no active traders trust
    to use it activly
  8. Dion Loy

    Dion Loy eSignal

    Actually QuoTrek charts are streaming. The last price should be updating in the price axis and on the last bar. What symbol were you watching ?

  9. ahhh, i can see you are looking at another product. i am part of the beta test of quotrek-- nothing you are saying is accurate.

    qoutrek is by far the best portable system yet.

  10. I was trailing with QQQ, and found prices are lagging
    my esignal charts by far.

    May be it was due to my GPRS service and hardware
    configuration that i had, if others find quotes not lagging.

    I was using HP iPAQ pocket PC 5450 getting internet
    access through infra with Nokia 6310i cell phone. (because
    blue toothe on my nokia cell phone was defected).
    #10     Apr 11, 2004