Regular viewers of CNBC will find a lot to like in their new free app for iPhone. Clips from all their flagship shows like Mad Money are added each day, and stocks are updated, as the title would suggest, in real time. In addition to up-to-the-second financial data, breaking news streams all day long, giving users a catch-all app for the low-low price of free. Unfortunately, CNBC Real-Time is encumbered by some strange layout choices and obtrusive ads.
CNBC, along with Forbes and Bloomberg, is generally the go-to television station for those concerned with finance. Having this data available immediately and in our pocket is no doubt appealing to the wheelers and dealers of the world, and CNBC Real-Time certainly does a competent job of providing this information. Users are able to customize stock information by selecting just the stocks they’re interested in. Searching is also a cinch, as you can get a quote instantly by typing your selection in the field at the top-right side of the screen.
CNBC Real-Time trips up with its sloppy layout and formatting. The iPhone possesses a relatively small screen, and Real-Time attempts to cram a lot of information where it just doesn’t fit and the result isn’t very appealing. This is most evident in the “Top Stories” tab (seen above) where the day’s top news stories are presented. The layout comes off as too busy, and the information is sorted poorly, making it difficult for the user to find what they’re looking for. The stock charts and video clips are presented nicely, but these news and blog sections are just too busy.
In addtion, because the app is free, advertisements are always present, further adding to the on-screen clutter. Having ads in a free app is understandable, but with an already-crowded screen, it’s a shame CNBC couldn’t have found a more aesthetically pleasing way to make their money.
Bottom Line: There’s no question that CNBC Real-Time is a handy tool for the financial set. It’s just a shame the mounds of valuable information is presented so poorly.
CNBC Real-Time is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.