LinkedIn app

LinkedIn for Android Finally Arrives, Missing Features Confound

April 7, 2011 - Written By Maddi Hausmann Sojourner

LinkedIn for Android: A Year Late and Still Not Connected

It’s been called Facebook for Professionals, Networking on the Net, or Your Resume on Web 2.0.  If you’re looking for a new job, it’s indispensable.  And until very recently, it’s been called Missing in Action when it comes to Android. After way too long an absence, LinkedIn released LinkedIn for Android version 1.0.0 today, and you can get it on the Android Market now!

LinkedIn for Android does some things well

LinkedIn brings most, but not all of what makes the online site required for professional networking.  All your LinkedIn contacts are there and you can see details, what contacts any two of you have in common, and can contact them via any information available to LinkedIn.  You can send invitations to people you aren’t already connected with.  The “Reconnect” feature lets you discover people who you may know but haven’t added yet.

You can follow colleagues’ updates (which is a lot like your twitter stream, and in many cases it forwarded tweets), search for new contacts you can then add on the spot, or read your LinkedIn messages.

So Why is LinkedIn Not Full of Contact Win?

What you cannot do, though, is pretty disappointing, given how long it has taken LinkedIn to release this app.  LinkedIn Groups are not accessible at all, and Groups are a powerful feature of the online website.  You can’t read your Groups updates, nor can you update them yourself.  Your Updates are LinkedIn-wide only.

And given how contact-intensive LinkedIn is, it’s also amazing that this app doesn’t make any attempt to sync LinkedIn contacts with those on your device.  Clicking on a contact allows you to email or phone them, provided that LinkedIn has their email or phone information stored there.  But you could have that exact same person on your phone with other email addresses or phone numbers, and LinkedIn would never know it.  In my opinion, this missing functionality is inexcusable.  Furthermore, I know it’s completely feasible, because the LinkedIn for BlackBerry app had this built right in two years ago!  Any phone contact could be checked for LinkedIn presence, any LinkedIn contact could be synched with an existing phone contact.

If you see a person on LinkedIn you wish to invite, the app does not allow you to personalize the invitation.  LinkedIn for Androidsends out a boilerplate request.  Some people find these a mite off-putting, and I’m surprised the app doesn’t allow customizing the invitation text.

Finally, what year is it again?  An app that takes up 6.6 megabytes should have the option to be stored on the SD card.

What Are the Alternatives to LinkedIn?

If you want a good LinkedIn Android app, until recently the only game was DroidIn.  DroidIn does a great job providing a front end for LinkedIn, but the developer behind it said too many features were not enabled on the LinkedIn API so he couldn’t provide access to groups or contact sync.  DroidIn is 0.91 MB and can indeed be stored on your SD card; if you’re using a phone with limited internal storage that’s a consideration.  Invitations can be personalized to say anything you want (if you like the provided text, you can use it as well).  DroidIn also provides a widget, except the widget doesn’t work when installed on the SD card (unless you are running Gingerbread).

DroidIn provides all the functionality of LinkedIn for Android, plus more, except it doesn’t have the suggested contacts (Reconnect) feature.

A $1.99 paid app, ConnectIn, says it can sync phone contacts with LinkedIn connections.  I haven’t tried ConnectIn so I can’t vouch for it, but several users on the LinkedIn beta team mentioned using it.  I’ve avoided it due to recent reviews mentioning problems.

LinkedIn for Android beta tester?

A word of warning: if you were using the beta version of LinkedIn, remove it before installing the new version 1.0.0.  I had some really odd behavior on my phone when I installed LinkedIn 1.0 on top of the beta, including GoogleVoice not being able to access the mailbox and Android Market failing to load.  Deleting and re-installing solved those issues after a battery pull from my Motorola Droid X.

Beta testers using the HTC Thunderbolt complained it did not work in LTE mode, crashes and force closes aplenty.  If you have a Thunderbolt, let us know if version 1.0.0 of LinkedIn for Android is behaving for you.

Android Market Links for LinkedIn Apps

Once more, here’s where you can download these LinkedIn apps

LinkedIn for Android (free) – LinkedIn for Android puts your professional network just a touch away. Walk into any interview or client meeting with the ability to look up the details and connect with over 100 million professionals worldwide. Get the latest updates and messages from your network and keep them up-to-date with your status in real-time.

DroidIn (free) – Inbox, updates, contacts and more, Access your LinkedIn account and Inbox on the go!

DroidIn Pro ($1.99) – No ads, removes any limits of free version.  This is a license file, download free version first.

ConnectIn ($1.99):   Sync & integrate your LinkedIn contacts’ phone #, headlines, photos, & status updates to your Android contacts/address book.  View activity/news, see your contacts, view profiles, and send InMail.

Are you one of LinkedIn’s 100 million users?  Then hit the comments and let us know what you think of these LinkedIn apps!