Clubhouse invites Android to the party
May 17, 2021
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by Stephen Kanyi

The exclusive, invite-only social media app Clubhouse has hired an android developer, moving away from the exclusive ‘invite only for Apple users’ model.

The app launched in March 2020 and is already a favourite among celebrities and business executives. This is part of the reason it has grown in popularity, the celebrity influencer effect. As an invite-only app it offers a kind of exclusivity and privacy that is lacking in other similar apps.

Despite operating on an ‘invite-only’ subscription model, it has over 10 million active users.

What is Clubhouse

Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app. When you sign in, you have the option of entering multiple rooms where online users’ names pop up. When you enter a room, you can hear the discussion and if the moderator allows, also participate.

The company describes itself as “a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.”

It was developed by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth in 2019.

You can join a discussion about politics, business, use it for networking, any way you want. But only if you have the invite. Despite its exclusivity, Clubhouse has managed to grow impressively in one year. The conversations cannot be recorded, or shared without permission. This has led to questions over the app’s commitment in ensuring the app remains a safe place for everyone.

Celebrities like Oprah, Drake, Kevin Hart and Ashton Kutcher use it. Its use by celebrities and the elite in Silicon Valley and has really helped boost its popularity. The app was recently valued at $4 billion. However recent reports indicate that its strong growth recorded in the first years of its launch may be tapering off.

In April the company recorded only 922000 downloads on Apple, this was 60% dip from March’s numbers which was in the millions. As an iOS and invite-only app this was bound to happen. While Apple may be one of the most valuable companies in the world, its number of users does not compare to Android.

No wonder the company now plans to launch its Android version in Google’s Play Store.

Android Plans
The company has said that it plans on expanding to a wider audience, and android development will take some time.
On 2nd May, Clubhouse’s parent company’s newsletter mentioned that, ‘Android is not yet live, but we started rolling a rough beta version out to a handful of friendly testers. If you hear someone saying they are using Clubhouse on the official Android app, please give them a warm welcome! We cannot wait to welcome more Android users to Clubhouse over the coming weeks.’

There’s no information available yet on how can Android users sign up for the beta or how are the rollout users being decided.

Since its launch, Twitter, Spotify and LinkedIn have launched or decided to launch apps similar to Clubhouse. These knockoffs seem to have taken a significant chunk of “prospective users” from Clubhouse. Recent data from an analytics firm shows that Clubhouse’s downloads went down by 72% in March with 2.7 million downloads compared to February’s 9.6 million downloads.

Privacy issues
There have been questions over Clubhouse’s privacy policy. If you want to send an invite to someone to join the app, then you have to provide your contact list to Clubhouse. Your Clubhouse account is then linked to your social media account, Clubhouse will have access to your list of followers. If you delete the app, you cannot delete the personal information collected by Clubhouse.

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