Clubhouse launches Android app as downloads plummet
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FILE PHOTO: The social audio app Clubhouse is seen on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken February 8, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo
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(Reuters) - Live audio app Clubhouse will begin introducing a test version of its app to Google's Android users in the United States on Sunday, the company said, in a potentially big expansion of its market.
The app, which spiked in popularity early this year after celebrity billionaire Elon Musk and others appeared in audio chats, has sparked copy cats from startups and larger rivals including Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc.
It has been available only to users of Apple devices and by invitation. In some markets such as China, invitations were so sought after some were auctioned on online marketplaces.
But downloads of the app, one measure of popularity, have significantly fallen.
After peaking in February with 9.6 million downloads, that number fell to 2.7 million in March and then 900,000 downloads in April, according to Sensor Tower.
The drop has sparked questions about its long term viability and whether its success was owed in part to people spending more time at home during the pandemic.
The long anticipated Android launch is expected to reach more new users globally. The Android version will reach other English-speaking markets and then the rest of the globe days and weeks after the U.S. market beta launch.
Clubhouse, which created the category, now faces the likes of Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in April a slew of audio products, including Clubhouse-style live audio rooms and a way for users to find and play podcasts.
In January, Twitter Inc said that it will introduce a new feature to let users charge admission to their live audio chat rooms in its "Spaces" feature, as the company seeks to court more content creators. It has been available to Android users since March.
(Reporting by Nandakumar D in Bengaluru and Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Editing by Kenneth Li and Daniel Wallis)
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