Dec 182010
 

LinkedIn is the most popular professional social networking site in the world. It covers 200 countries with a user base of 85 million users. The 20th most popular website in the world, LinkedIn boasts of over 50 million unique views every month. Apart from being a very popular website, LinkedIn also has a significant mobile presence with having apps for both the Blackberry (duh!) and iPhone. With the ever increasing popularity of the Android platform, it isn’t a surprise that the LinkedIn decided to unveil a Android version of their mobile app.

The announcement of the beta came  this week and works for Android 2.1 and above. Below are the steps to install it.

  • Go to Settings -> Applications  and make sure the “Unknown Sources” option is checked. This will allow the installation of non market apps. (Screenshots for this step are given at the above link – m.linkedin.com/Android)
  • Download the .apk file from the link on the page and it will get saved on your SD card. Double click the app and install it. You can also use an app like “Apps Installer” which scans the SD card for all .apk files and allows installation.

The app is still in early beta, so there is a lot of functionality missing like ones given below. But don’t worry, LinkedIn has promised an update to the beta next year which will cover some additional features.

  • Groups are missing
  • You cannot access your inbox from the app
  • You cant reply to or share an update from a connection
  • You cant tweak your twitter integration settings yet

But one notable thing is the speed of updates. Even on my slow 2G EDGE connections, searches and updates were happening lightning fast. On 3G the application would work almost instantly.

First open the application from the phone’s home screen

After logging in, the application’s home page looks quite simple and and bare bones. Just 4 options for now

Clicking on Updates shows you a list of all the updates from your connections. I didn’t find a place to update my own status yet. There are no options to reply or like the updates from your connections. I tried the long press on this screen but it didn’t work, the only page that can be opened from here is the user info screen by clicking on the face of the connection.

Here is the user info screen. Notice there are two buttons here – Connections and Common Connections. Each opens another page which gives the connections of the user. A funny thing is that the first button seems to be disabled if the user has more than 500 connections (Notice there is no right arrow). I hope its only a temporary feature put in for the beta and this limit will be removed in the final version.

Coming back to the home page, The Invitations part seems to be still half baked. There is hardly any option here except to refresh and to invite any of your phone contact. I would love for a link to the search function which would allow me to search for a contact and then invite him directly.

The connections feature works as advertised and adds an additional feature of being directly able to email/call our contacts from the app itself. This is a very useful feature since all our connections may not be phone contacts.

The search feature is one more which is not yet fully developed. I tried searching for a company by its name but all I am got were the employees working there. Also there are no advanced filter features which exist in the website.

Verdict – 4/5

Except for the absence of some essential features because its an early beta, the LinkedIn app seems to be quite robust. There are no crashes and all options work as advertised. The developers deserve an applause for the speed of search and loading of updates which happens very fast on slower 2G connections. If they incorporate all the missing functions in the subsequent releases, I would be accessing LinkedIn on the mobile far more than the web version