Clubhouse, a live audio service, will begin launching a beta version of the app to Google’s Android users in the United States on Sunday, the company said, in what may be a significant extension of its business. The app, which gained traction earlier this year after celebrity billionaire Elon Musk and others featured in audio chats, has spawned imitators from entrepreneurs and bigger competitors such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc.
It has previously only been open by invitation to Apple smartphone owners. Invitations were so sought for in some markets, such as China, that they were auctioned off on online marketplaces.
However, smartphone sales, which are one indicator of success, have dropped sharply.
According to Sensor Tower, after reaching a high of 9.6 million downloads in February, the number dropped to 2.7 million in March and then 900,000 in April.
The drop has raised concerns about its long-term longevity, as well as whether its popularity can be attributed in part to people spending more time at home during the pandemic.
The long-awaited Android launch is expected to attract more new users worldwide. The Android edition will be available in other English-speaking countries, followed by the rest of the world, in the days and weeks after the beta launch in the United States.
Clubhouse, which pioneered the genre, now competes with Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched a slew of audio items in April, including Clubhouse-style live audio rooms and a way for users to search and play podcasts.
Twitter Inc announced in January that it would add a new update in its “Spaces” feature that will enable users to charge access to their live audio chat rooms, while the company aims to court more content creators. Since March, Android users have had access to it.