LinkedIn for Android Hits Beta for Mobile Pros

LinkedIn for Android is somewhat baked, launched in beta. However, users must jump through hoops to test the fledgling application on their Android handsets.

LinkedIn users with Android smartphones have long felt left out, but that is set to change as the social network for professionals launched its LinkedIn for Android application to beta Dec. 16.

LinkedIn for Android offers many of the same features available to mobile users of LinkedIn's BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Mobile apps.

These include the ability to manage LinkedIn connections, view updates from a professional network, search for people and make connections and respond to invitations to connect with other professionals.

Chad Whitney, senior product manager at LinkedIn, offers screenshots of LinkedIn for Android and more details in his blog post here.

Users may view connection updates, including connections, changes to user profiles and important articles and information, from the updates screen.

The search feature in LinkedIn for Android lets users find people and view their profile to learn more about them, invite them to connect, or see who they have in common.

Users may send invitations by viewing the profile of someone they're not connected to and clicking the invite button.

LinkedIn will update the beta app next year to include LinkedIn Inbox access, the "People You May Know" suggested user feature; and the ability to share and comment on updates.

LinkedIn for Android is available for users smartphones running Android 2.1 and later.

Unfortunately, unlike most mobile apps delivered via Android phones using the app is not as easy as clicking an install button from the Android Market.

Android users must be member of the LinkedIn Mobile parent group and then join the new LinkedIn for Android subgroup here. They can then access the instructions to download the app.

This is the sort of barrier to entry that might make LinkedIn and Android users think twice about trying the app, at least until it's finished and the stable version launches.

Still, things are looking good for LinkedIn, which now has more than 85 million users, CEO Jeff Weiner said last month at the Web 2.0 Summit.

The company inked its first two acquisitions in 2010, picking up B2B review specialist ChoiceVendor and recommendation software concern mSpoke.