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This article was published on May 3, 2021

Clubhouse finally begins testing an Android version — but is it too late?

Clubhouse finally begins testing an Android version — but is it too late?
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Clubhouse is finally testing an Android version of its popular live-audio app. In an announcement, the company said that it’s trying out this version with “a handful of friendly testers.”

This means the app is currently in a closed beta— so you can’t sign up to try it just yet —with more users to be included in the coming weeks. After launching in March last year, the iOS-only app became a sensation because it had an invite system to make people feel special and a new style of real-time audio interaction with no recording features.

But since then, every company on the planet has launched some form of live audio product across platforms. Let’s look at the list: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SpotifyReddit, Discord, Telegram, and Instagram. That includes almost all social networking heavy-weights spanning billions of users across different verticles.

[Read: Oh no… ‘Senior Clubhouse Executive’ is now a thing]

Because of this onslaught of real-time voice conversation products, Clubhouse’s appeal has faded a bit. Recent data from analytics firm Sensor Tower suggests that in March, Clubhouse downloads plunged by 72% as compared to the previous month. And as someone who spends a few hours a week on the platform, I’ve heard many people say that the app has become a bit boring.

Some folks from the current Clubhouse community liked the exclusive nature of the app, and might not like that Android users are coming on to the platform. But honestly they don’t have to worry as it’ll most likely only be a teeny tiny fraction of Android’s massive user base.

I’m willing to bet we’ll see the same initial rush to download the app on Android as we first saw with iOS. But those new users will also run into the same challenge of creating and discovering interesting sessions.
I am intrigued to see what tricks Clubhouse has up its sleeve to improve discovery to woo Android users and keep its impressive growth intact. Let the live-audio battle royale begin!

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