May 10, 2021
Android users join the conversation: Clubhouse expands beyond Apple users in the US
Android users in the U.S. can now join the invite-only Clubhouse, more than a year after the social audio app debuted.
At its weekly "town hall" meeting Sunday, Clubhouse founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth are expected to announce that the popular app will be available for American Android users in beta mode.
"With Android, we believe that Clubhouse will feel more complete. We are so grateful to all of the Android users out there for their patience," Davison and Seth said in a company blog post. "Whether you are a creator, a club organizer, or someone who just wants to explore, we are so excited to welcome you to the community."
Clubhouse's Android arrival comes after more than 10 million downloads on Apple's operating system.
Clubhouse competition rears its head
The move to Android for Clubhouse also comes after Facebook said last month it will be rolling out soon a series of audio features including Live Audio Rooms which allows users to listen and participate in live conversations, similar to Clubhouse and Soundbites, where users can create and share short audio clips. And last week, Twitter announced its audio chat product called Spaces, to users who have more than 600 followers.
The anticipated competition for Clubhouse appears as the social audio phenomenon exploded during the pandemic as people were looking for ways to socialize with each other besides video chats and conference calls.
At Clubhouse, members can feel like they are either eavesdropping on conversations or exchanging ideas with power players and celebs—for free. Chats can go on for hours as this interaction comes at a time in a world mostly frustrated and weary with being socially isolated and worn out from attending video conference meetings all day long.
As Clubhouse began to grow exponentially since last fall with such notables as Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company admitted in its blog on Sunday that "the load stressed our systems—causing widespread server outages and notification failures, and surpassing the limits of our early discovery algorithms."
Davison and Seth have repeatedly said that the company has had to focus on hiring to help fix its issues instead of adding new features. "It was an important time of investment, which we think will help us serve the community much better in the long run," the founders said in the blog post.
Clubhouse also said it will soon allow Android users in other English-speaking countries and then globally. The company also said it will continue to get feedback, add more users currently on the waitlist to join the app on Apple's iOS, and eventually add new features including payments and club creation before launching it to its users.
The company said it has seen global growth in its chat rooms ranging from rural Georgia farmers interacting with entrepreneurs in Tanzania, film clubs forming in India, debate rooms in Germany, and quiz shows originating in the Middle East.
"We've seen firsthand what we've always believed—that the need to gather with other humans is universal," the company blog said. "Throughout this period, we have felt the need to be cross-platform more strongly than ever."
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