The iPhone has been making headway in its battle to become a business-ready tool. Obviously, the addition of Microsoft Exchange support was a big step towards being considered a viable alternative to the traditional smartphones used at work, like Blackberry and Windows Mobile. However, beyond simply supporting enterprise email, the iPhone platform has a lot of potential to cater to the needs of its business users, too.
Today, we're introduced to what hopefully will continue the trend of more "serious" apps for iPhone: LinkedIn.
The new LinkedIn app for iPhone launched today in the iPhone store. The app itself is simple, but VentureBeat thinks simple is perfect. We have to agree. Business apps don't need to overly complex or feature-rich necessarily - they just need to provide you with quick and easy access to information and data.
The LinkedIn App
The app features four different sections: the main page, connections, search, and status:
The main page of the iPhone app displays a news feed that shows updates from your LinkedIn contacts - things like whether they've updated their profile, changed positions, asked a question, added a new contact, etc.
The "Connections" section displays your LinkedIn contacts in a way that's very much like the iPhone's built-in contact list.
- From the "Search" section, you can search for contacts by name, keyword, title, or company.
The "Status" section allows you to update your LinkedIn status, which many people use to announce what they're working on. Others have this hooked up via Ping.fm or a similar app so it's updated with their latest tweet.
However, one of the app's best features is its ability to copy LinkedIn contacts over to the contact list on your phone itself. You can download the app from the iPhone store here.
Business Apps Rock, Too
Although a lot of the focus in the blogosphere has been on "fun" apps, like Twitter clients, games, and social networking apps from Facebook and MySpace, the iPhone is offers a lot of apps for business users, too. In the business section of the app store, there are three pages of apps that include everything from virtual rolodexes to time trackers to expense recorders and various calculators. There are even IT-focused apps like VNC clients and command prompt tools. Yet, there could be so many more apps available here.
When you think of the types of businesses there are today, you realize that there's potential for that business category to explode with apps. It could be subdivided into numerous sections focusing on the different types of business users: sales, marketing, retail, accounting, executives, HR, IT, real estate....the list could go on and on. The LinkedIn app holds universal appeal for anyone anyone who works for a living, but more importantly, we hope that, through its adoption, developers will see the potential for building iPhone apps for business as well.