NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The Beignets and syrupy, crushed-ice "snowball" desserts here are sweet. But the Big Easy's lesson to a broken investing environment is not. Seven years after Katrina wiped out much of the city, when the hurricane comes it's on you to find high and dry ground.
In today's no-growth mobile tech markets, that boils down to picking the pockets of value in an otherwise subsiding digital delta. Remember that cell networks and the phones that run on them remain the sucker's bet they've been for 20 years (now joined by the apps designed for them).
Money can be still be made investing in mobile, including starting in the obvious place: Apple, still running strong with its iPhone 4S.
But if you know where to look, don't overreact and understand how the pieces fit together, money can be still be made in mobile. Here are the devices I am in touch with down here that are good places to start.
Apple iPhone 4S ($199 with two-year contract)
I know: I'm not keeping this gig long if my "insider's pick" is a mobile device from Apple (AAPL). Any dope knows the iPhone is a market mover. But what is overlooked is that, at least for now, there is no limit as to the spell Apple casts over markets. Forget the new laptop with nothing more than a new screen, the iPhone 4S turned one of the dregs of techdom -- voice recognition -- into a legit, bet-able product. Who cares that Siri doesn't work like it does for John Malkovich in the ads -- any add-on Apple bakes into its devices makes for investor fair game.
Never mind that Google (GOOG) remains a world-beater in Web software. When it comes to making real things that move, Google makes Kodak look like Instagram. Face it: Larry, Sergey and Eric simply cannot get out of their own combined ways when it comes to portable devices. And if you doubt that, I have two words for you: Galaxy Nexus. Sure, this device was made in partnership with the simply brilliant Samsung, but it still sets the bar for boring. There are plenty of nice features: the Android 4.0 operating system, a virtual wallet and the great camera. But it matters not. The Nexus is duulllll. Keep in mind, all bets may be off with Google's blockbuster purchase of Motorola's (MOT) mobile unit. The Web giant might prove it can shed its smug "brillianter than thou" vibe and actually serve mobile operators such as Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and Sprint (S). But until then it should pay nicely to be dubious about Google's mobile hardware future. Samsung Galaxy S III ($199 for 16 GB with two-year contract)
It's this simple: Samsung has done some brilliant work with the Galaxy S III. First of all, this device smokes similar units from makers such as LG, HTC and Nokia (NOK). It's big. It's fast. It's really easy to use. And the display is terrific. I will leave out all the geek hardcore here, since who really cares, but the fact is, Apple better have one heck of a phone coming with the iPhone 5. If you factor in processing, features and the overall experience, Apple is going to have a real competitor on its hands with the S III. Factor in that Samsung makes this phone available to all domestic operators, so many, many phones will ship, and Samsung clearly has a hit on its hand. If you can figure out a way to bet sensibly on Samsung -- this monster of a company can be surprisingly irritating to invest in via the London Stock Exchange via American Depositary Receipts -- as of now, the Galaxy S III is market moving pick.
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