LinkedIn is adopting a new multiple mobile app strategy to meet the changing demands of a membership that’s relying more on smartphones and tablets for work, the company said Wednesday.

Instead of just one main mobile app, LinkedIn is highlighting several new or redesigned apps and features, including a redesigned tablet app, a news reader app and a new service that pulls LinkedIn profiles directly into the iPhone’s built-in e-mail app.

The new mobile strategy comes as the 225 million members who use the Mountain View professional social network shift from PCs to mobile devices for work – at all hours of the day.

The portion of LinkedIn users who use mobile devices each week has jumped from 8 percent after the company released its first iPhone app in 2010 to 38 percent this year, and is expected to cross 50 percent next year. Mobile users are 2.5 times more active than those who access the service on PCs.

“The speed of innovation, the pace of change, has required us to reinvent the way we go to market with mobile applications, products and services,” CEO Jeff Weiner said at a press conference in San Francisco.

LinkedIn is not alone in the chase for mobile customers. But the company’s main revenue-generating products, especially recruiting and marketing services, depend on keeping traffic and engagement strong.

A mobile app introduced two months ago for corporate employment recruiters is already generating about 50 percent of LinkedIn’s revenue from sponsored updates, said Deep Nishar, senior vice president of products and user experience.

“So absolutely, mobile is a very integral part of our monetization strategy,” Nishar said. “The integration of mobile into professional life has been the fastest of any technology that we’ve ever seen in the history of humankind. It’s a big deal. It can be head-spinning. It can disorient you.”

The company highlighted several mobile apps or features that are integrated into the overall LinkedIn service, each focusing on different aspects of how members use the social network. One, called LinkedIn Intro, uses technology the company acquired when it bought e-mail startup Rapportive in 2012 for about $15 million. Checking e-mail has become one of the main activities on mobile devices.

Intro integrates with the iPhone’s native e-mail app to display the sender’s LinkedIn profile, including online resume and updates he or she may have recently posted.

Intro helps “to put faces to names, to establish rapport, to write the most effective e-mail,” said Rahul Vohra, Rapportive’s founder and CEO.

The service works with Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail and iCloud, but does not yet support Microsoft’s Outlook. Intro was available at

LinkedIn is also making use of its $90 million acquisition of popular news reader Pulse with a new app designed to personalize stories being shared by LinkedIn members. A LinkedIn survey also released Wednesday showed that 72 percent of people in the U.S. ages 18 to 34 watch or read the news on a mobile device.

“We believe that news is central to your professional life,” said Pulse founder Ankit Gupta. “You get to work and the talk around the water cooler and all the meetings is about the day’s news.” However, the new Pulse is still caught up in the Apple app approval process, although it and an Android version should be available soon, Gupta said.

LinkedIn also released refreshed main mobile apps, a rebuilt iPad app and an app that handles a person’s contacts list.

The LinkedIn-commissioned survey of 1,000 U.S. adults between Sept. 26 and Oct. 4 also found that:

  • 82 percent felt more productive using mobile devices.
  • 84 percent of people ages 18 to 34 read or viewed content recommended by their social network friends.
  • 53 percent of people ages 18 to 34 have searched for a job on a mobile device while at work.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle