Professional social network LinkedIn offers apps for a number of smartphone platforms, including iOS and BlackBerry but has neglected Android users for some time now. In fact, LinkedIn brought Android senior software engineer Cedric Beust on to its mobile team in May from Google, but still didn’t launch an Android app. Until now, Android phone users could only access LinkedIn from the mobile web, and the company says that it has seen a 200% increase in members accessing LinkedIn from Android phones. Today, LinkedIn is finally launching a free native app for Android phones.
The new app, which is in beta, can be accessed by joining the LinkedIn for Android group in the social network. The app itself includes much of same basic functionality as its iPhone and Blackberry cousins. You can view updates from your professional network, including updates from newly established connections, changes to people’s profiles, and articles and information being shared by your contacts.
The app also leverages Android’s search capabilities, offering the ability to search for contacts and people from the app. LinkedIn says that it is the fastest search experience it offers across all mobile platforms.
You can send and respond to invitations, as well as message your contacts within invitations. In the future, LinkedIn says that it will give users full access to their Inbox, will add sharing and commenting on updates, and will integrate its “People You May Know” feature.
While LinkedIn, which now has 85 million users and is adding a member every second, has certainly taken its sweet time to unveil an Android app, the app itself has the potential to be one of the platform’s most powerful mobile offerings considering the search capabilities Android’s OS has to offer.