LinkedIn, the business-oriented social network for professionals, is finally making a serious effort to satisfy the needs of its mobile users with the LinkedIn app for Android devices.
LinkedIn is rather late to the Android party, as many other social networking apps like Twitter, Facebook and TweetDeck are already well established. But with this foray into Android territory, LinkedIn accomplishes the difficult task of providing a useful tool without sacrificing simplicity.
All the functions of this app are accessible from the Home screen and, perhaps more importantly, they enable you to do most of the things you'd want to do with LinkedIn on a mobile device. You can view the details of your Connections, message them, or browse their Connections list to see who they know. You can browse Reconnect to see a list of people whom LinkedIn thinks you might know, but who are not yet Connected to you. When you find a listing you recognise, you can Invite the person to Connect to you.
You can also view Invitations that other people have sent you, and you can read and respond to private Messages. A Search function lets you easily find people, and the Updates button takes you to your news feed of status updates from your Connections. You can also post status updates from the app.
The app makes it easy to look at your own LinkedIn profile to confirm that it's up to date. Unfortunately, the app does not currently let you edit your profile, but I expect this feature to be included in a future update.
Another feature the LinkedIn app lacks is the ability to integrate your LinkedIn contacts with those in your Android Phonebook. The social media apps for Twitter and Facebook already do this, and it would have been a nice feature for the LinkedIn app to include.
I'm also disappointed that the LinkedIn app doesn't appear in the Share menu of other apps such as the web browser. It would be useful to be able to easily post links into my LinkedIn update stream.
Despite some small criticisms, this app delivers useful features in a clean and easy-to-navigate package. LinkedIn has promised to add more features with successive updates, and if you wish to make suggestions you can join the LinkedIn for Android Group.