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Data never looked so good

Instead of shrinking charts and graphs into tiny versions of themselves that you have to pinch and scroll to read, it re-envisions mobile viewing, meaningfully cramming a breadth of information into its gorgeous charts and graphs.

RoamBi is no ordinary data reader. Instead of shrinking charts and graphs into tiny versions of themselves that you have to pinch and scroll to read, it re-envisions mobile viewing, meaningfully distributing a breadth of information into its gorgeous charts and graphs. On the iPhone or iPod Touch, report-seekers can search and sort reports. There are features that let you drill down deep into each report's components on successive screens, and visual trills to customize color, hide columns, and drag and drop elements to rearrange them. There's bookmarking information to keep a data point handy, graphs you can double-tap to see a new view, and sometimes secondary graphs that swing up when you tap a button.

The service hinges on a Web publisher where individual operators or corporate employees can import reports. RoamBi then formats these into one of four visual templates: the pie chart, graph, card file, or list. You can e-mail the data from the site or push it to RoamBi (Note: This does not yet use iPhone 3.0's push notification.) Corporations that subscribe to RoamBi's premium enterprise service can upload Salseforce.com, Excel, Crystal Reports, and others to employees in the field. Individuals can use it for free.

Though highly interactive, RoamBi isn't always intuitive. If you don't know to tap a graph or spin the pie chart to view more details, you may at first miss out. As RoamBi is currently view-only, it's not yet ready to be used as a collaborative tool across a mobile team. The fact that you need to use RoamBi's Web site to process your data adds another limitation, but for those who regularly work with data sets, the app's glossy presentation is worth the extra hassle.

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