LinkedIn is one of the most important online networks for professionals to join. It is, quite simply, the foremost way to stay on top of business relationships. Having access to that network, and all the details of your important relationships at your fingertips when en route to a meeting or while at a large conference is invaluable.
The LinkedIn Android app is an essential tool for business professionals no matter which industries are the core focus of their work. The app is very nearly as comprehensive as the website, giving you ways to add new contacts quickly and stay in sync with all the professional changes happening to the people who matter most. Its implementation took best practices in software design to heart, so that everything you'd need is simple to find and easy to do.
When first installed, the LinkedIn app asks if you want to sync LinkedIn with your contacts – an expected feature to be sure – and you can leave it set to off if you have any privacy concerns about giving LinkedIn too much access to your phone.
For a mobile app, LinkedIn for Android offers a surprising amount of functionality. It shows you just about everything you can find on the website: People who have viewed your profile (with some limitations in a free account), pending invitations to connect, jobs that might interest you, recent changes and activity in your network, a news feed of updates, and more.
You can add custom shortcuts in the right side tray of the app to some of these information gateways, which is one of my favourite features. I personally like to keep an eye on people who have recently viewed my profile, and the shortcut let me get to that information effortlessly.
There are two things that you can do on the website, but can’t in the app, namely customising an invitation to connect, and endorsing people's skills. I don't mind not being able to endorse skills so much, as I thought that addition to the website was rather silly in the first place. (My best guess about why that feature exists is that previously, users weren't writing enough "recommendations" of one another, or that they were too long and no one used them. So LinkedIn added the ability to quickly "endorse" someone for having certain skills as a way to keep community validation alive. I just find that often, people endorse me for the most ridiculous skills that I don't even have...)
The inability to customise a message when requesting someone "link" with you is a poor choice, though. I loathe it because when I get an invitation with a canned message that doesn't contain any context about how the person knows me, I trash it. On the website, sometimes you can write your own note, and other times you can't, depending on where you accessed the invite button, and this, too, I wish was more consistent. I want to never send a message without at least having the opportunity to see and edit what will be sent on my behalf. The details of our communication with business partners and colleagues couldn't be more important.
LinkedIn remains one of the most important online networks for professionals to join, whether they're searching for a job or trying to actively stay informed of what's happening in the professional lives of people who matter. The free LinkedIn Android app is supremely thorough, and an essential app for just about everyone. Sure, a few details could use some tweaking, but they don't stop the number one professional network from being totally relevant to mobile users.