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Clubhouse begins externally testing its Android app – TechCrunch

2 Mins read

Clubhouse, the voice-based networking app now being knocked off by every central tech platform, brings its service to Android. During its weekly town hall event, the company announced that its Android version had entered beta testing with a handful of non-employees who will provide the company with early feedback ahead of a public launch. In its release notes, Clubhouse referred to this test as involving a “rough beta version” being rolled out to a group of “friendly testers.” That means there’s no way for the broader public to sign up for the Android app.

The lack of an Android client combined with its invite system initially gave Clubhouse an aura of exclusivity. You had to know someone to get in, and then you would need an iOS device to participate. But the delay in providing access to Android users also gave larger competitors time to catch up with Clubhouse and court users who were being left behind. One of the most significant rivals, Facebook, recently challenged Clubhouse across all its platforms and services.

Android app

Facebook announced a complete audio strategy that included a range of new products, from short-form audio snippets to a direct Clubhouse clone that works across Facebook and Messenger. It also announced a way for Instagram Live users to turn off their video and mute their mics, similar to Clubhouse. Even Facebook’s R&D division tested a Clubhouse alternative, Hotline, which offers a sort of mashup between the popular audio app and Instagram Live, with more of a Q&A focus. Meanwhile, Twitter is continuing to expand its audio rooms feature, Twitter Spaces, and Clubhouse alternatives from Reddit, LinkedIn, Spotify, Discord, Telegram, and others are in the works, too.

For Clubhouse, that means the time has come to push for growth — especially as there are already some signs its initial hype is wearing off. According to app store intelligence firm Apptopia, Clubhouse has seen an estimated 13.5 million downloads on iOS to date. Still, daily downloads have been falling, mirroring a decline in daily active users. Apptopia’s data shows that Clubhouse’s daily active users were down 68% from a high in February 2021. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Clubhouse is over — it’s becoming less of a daily habit. But suppose the company can build out its creator community and establish several popular shows, which it’s aiming to do via its accelerator. In that case, it could still see users tuning in weekly and monthly, And those sessions would be longer than other social apps, as Clubhouse users often tune into shows that run over an hour — even leaving the app open as they do other tasks.

For example, Clubhouse’s average session time per user is 125% higher than Snapchat or Instagram. But compared with a streaming app like Spotify, sessions are shorter. Spotify’s average session per user is about 63% higher than Clubhouse, Apptopia data indicates. However, Clubhouse is aiming for the challenges around re-engaging people whose usage may have dwindled in recent days. Also, during its town hall, the company announced it would introduce a bell icon for events that will anotify usersabout the events to which they’ve RSVP’d. This will be important for creators who are advertising their events, as well. The Clubhouse didn’t give a specific time frame for when its Android app would reach more testers or the wider public, only noting that it’s looking forward to welcoming more Android users in the “coming weeks.” In March, Clubhouse said the Android launch would take a few months.

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