Clubhouse has at long last built an Android app, and is rolling it out starting today. It fills a huge void for the company, which has been iOS-only and invite-only for its entire existence, and could help Clubhouse bring new users onto the platform in much greater numbers.
But this isn't quite the throw-open-the-doors moment some Clubhouse fans have been hoping for. The app will only be available to Android users in the U.S., and it'll still be invite-only. Clubhouse said that it hopes to bring all its waitlisted iOS users into the app this summer, but that it is still trying to grow in a measured, careful way.
At some point, though, measured and careful growth appear to have turned into not much growth at all. The Clubhouse app was downloaded only 922,000 times in April, according to data from SensorTower, down 66% from March's 2.7 million downloads and down more than 90% from the app's peak at 9.6 million downloads in February. (Discord was downloaded about 11 million times in April across Android and iOS, for comparison, and Reddit about 4 million.)
Meanwhile, the list of viable Clubhouse competitors continues to grow: Discord, Spotify, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others are all moving fast on their own social audio platforms. Clubhouse is working on building monetization tools and enabling creators, but that's what the other platforms are doing too. Clubhouse will need to prove that it's still ahead of the pack, and not playing catch-up.
David Pierce (
@pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.