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Clubhouse finally comes to Android

After a year of exclusively operating on iOS, the buzzy social audio app announced on Sunday that it has begun rolling out its Android version in beta throughout the U.S. It is expected to quickly expand availability to other English-speaking countries before kicking off a broader global rollout in the weeks ahead.

In keeping with the company’s existing approach of keeping the hand on the growth spigot, the app is still being kept invite only.

This development comes shortly after what appears to be a dramatic slowdown in new app downloads for the social audio platform’s iOS app. Last week, Insider published a report indicating that Clubhouse had experienced a 66% month-over-month dip in iOS downloads in April, citing data from the market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. It’s an eye-popping data point, though perhaps not altogether unexpected, given the clearly unsustainable pop in attention and celebrity power that graced the platform in February and March.

It’s interesting to read Clubhouse’s blog post on the Android rollout against this context, particularly this stretch: “We’ve always taken a measured approach to growth, keeping the team small, building in public, and getting feedback from the community along the way… When you scale communities too quickly, things can break.” This is probably meant, in part, to explain the relatively long lag between its iOS and Android app launches. It is also, plausibly, a way to reframe the slowdown in iOS downloads.

Anyway, big picture: Clubhouse currently faces a more crowded social audio frontier today than it did two months ago, as a cluster of prominent competitors — Spotify, Reddit, and Twitter, among others — have ramped up their respective efforts in the app genre. For what it’s worth, my general sense of Clubhouse’s prospects is the same today as it was when I wrote my original column on the company back in February: Its future will likely come down to emphasizing, elevating, and scaling up the specific experiences and use cases that are specific and unique to its platform. In my mind, this almost certainly means having to identify a strong taxonomy of creators that simply can’t exist anywhere but Clubhouse.

Whether that will bear out remains to be seen, though perhaps some clue of the future can be discerned from the lengthy pilot list of Clubhouse “Creator First” Accelerator program announced last Wednesday.