LinkedIn no longer MIA on BlackBerry

March 30, 2010

BlackBerry smartphones and LinkedIn seem like a natural fit, with both heavily used by the corporate set.

Yet the business-oriented social network, which released an app for the Apple iPhone 18 months ago, hasn’t had a specialized app for the armies of BlackBerry-wielding users.

That changed on Monday evening, when LinkedIn made its BlackBerry debut with a free app designed for users of the Research in Motion BlackBerry Curve, Bold and Tour series of smartphones.

Courtesy: LinkedIn

Courtesy: LinkedIn

LinkedIn may have taken its time releasing a BlackBerry app, but the company said it wanted to create a product that wasn’t just a copy of its iPhone app, but something that was specifically designed for the BlackBerry

The LinkedIn app integrates with native Blackberry apps such as calendar and email, allowing a user to click on the name of a participant scheduled to attend a meeting, for instance, and instantly pull up their LinkedIn profile.

And the app uses the Blackberry’s background processing capabilities to ensure that profile info and messages are automatically kept up to date.

LinkedIn, which counts more than half of its 60 million members outside the U.S., said the Blackberry app will be available in seven languages.

Cell phones have increasingly become a popular way of accessing Internet social networking services like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. A recent study by comScore found that nearly one third of smartphone users accessed social networking sites in January 2010 (though that study looked at access via mobile browsers rather than through specialized apps).

Of course, there’s another important mobile platform that LinkedIn is still absent from: Google’s fast-growing Android smartphone operating system.

LinkedIn’s Chad Whitney, a senior product manager focused on mobile, said the company intends to be on Android at some point, though it’s not year clear if it will be in 2010.

“We’re actively spending time figuring out what do users actually want on Android,” said Whitney.

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