LinkedIn has created an application that lets users on the go tap into their professional network from any Web-enabled mobile device, especially Apple's popular iPhone.
Released to open beta Feb. 25, LinkedIn Mobile will let the site's over 19 million users access the service more easily from iPhones and other smart phones from Nokia, Research In Motion and Palm.
The application comes at a time when millions of users are looking to access their social and professional networks from any device at any time. Networks such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are keen to enable this because it will lead to greater opportunities to target mobile users with digital ads.
Users who want to try the application can point the browser on their mobile device to m.linkedin.com, said Brandon Duncan, director of engineering at LinkedIn.
The plan is to move the majority of the functions of LinkedIn's PC version to LinkedIn Mobile, but Duncan said he and his team at LinkedIn carefully picked a few of those features for the beta.
Users will be able to upload photos from their mobile phones just as they would on LinkedIn's PC service. This has value, Duncan told eWEEK, because it can help people who have never met find each other easily at professional events, such as trade shows.
LinkedIn users will also be able to invite new connections to their network from their gadgets. Previously, workers on the go had to snag a business card or an e-mail address, then go home to their PCs and establish a new connection from there.
Another feature is the ability to view certain network updates from a smart phone and act on them. For example, users who see a job posting they know would be a good fit for a colleague could forward the post just as if they were doing so from a desktop PC.
LinkedIn is growing, adding more than 1 million users per month. Moreover, mobile Web use is accelerating, due in no small part to the success of the iPhone. Hence, LinkedIn Mobile is optimized for the iPhone, something LinkedIn made a priority when it realized that about 2,000 people try to access the original site from their iPhones each day, the company said.
Such anecdotes blow holes in the theory that the iPhone is just a grand gadget for consumers.