Clubhouse launches on Android as app downloads collapse
Live-audio app Clubhouse is launching on Google’s Android, more than a year after its initial launch.
The invitation-only platform has previously been available on only Apple’s App Store, where downloads have significantly fallen.
The app spiked in popularity this year, with celebrities using the service and invitations being sold online.
But many are questioning its long-term viability, after competitors Facebook and Twitter launched copycat features.
Clubhouse said it was testing the app for users in the US initially, with UK and other English-speaking countries to follow "in the coming days".
“Our plan over the next few weeks is to collect feedback from the community, fix any issues we see and work to add a few final features like payments and club creation before rolling it out more broadly,” the technology company blogged .
It thanked Android users for their patience and said the app would be rolled out to the rest of the world during the next few weeks and users outside the US could register to receive a notification when it was available in their area.
Clubhouse had about 13.4 million users in late March, according to research company App Annie.
But after peaking in February, with 9.6 million downloads, it had had just 2.7 million in March and 900,000 in April, mobile-app-store analysts Sensor Tower said.
Enders Analysis technology head Joseph Evans said: “Clubhouse is still invite-only, so they are not judging success by how many people are using it.
“They are much more focused on getting compelling-content creators and then hoping that the users will follow at some point in the future.”
But “deep-pocketed” rivals could steal users from Clubhouse by creating a more polished product.
Facebook is testing a web-based app of its own called Hotline, which lets hosts chat to their audience via audio and text and will be available to both Android and Apple users.
And Twitter has launched Spaces, an audio-streaming feature inside the existing Twitter app, which will soon allow users to charge for admission to its audio chat rooms.
"People can now have the best of both worlds on the platforms they know and trust, rather than jumping between multiple social networks," South Coast Social social-media agency founder Clare Groombridge said.
All In content-creator agency founder Kevin Tewe said Clubhouse’s initial success had been due to people staying at home during the pandemic.
“Users soon realised it is always the same topics by the same people, who are selling themselves or getting deals for their agencies," he said.
And the platform would become increasingly irrelevant as people were allowed to interact in person more.