New audio-only chat app Clubhouse has blown up in popularity, but like any popular club, you need an invite to get off the waitlist. And unfortunately for Android phone owners, they've had to wait outside while millions of iPhone users cut the line.
Clubhouse made a big initial splash as celebrities like Oprah, Elon Musk and Tiffany Haddish flocked to its audio chatrooms, where users could ask them questions directly. The app also lets users moderate their own discussions and invite other members for interviews.
Android users waited a long time for their turn, and that patience is finally being rewarded: the Clubhouse Android beta is live now. Unfortunately, the beta has limited features and can only be downloaded in certain countries, but we're hopeful the full experience will be live soon.
Here's what you need to know about the Clubhouse for Android beta, and when to expect the final version.
- Our choices for the best Android phones that'll eventually have Clubhouse
- Plus the best Android apps of 2021 that you won't have to wait for
Clubhouse for Android beta: how to get access
After a brief, limited beta with hand-picked testers, the Clubhouse for Android beta became available for download on the Google Play Store in the US only. That link will take you to the official download page, helping you to avoid any counterfeit apps.
To run the app, you must have Android 8.0 installed or later, though we recommend Android 11 for the best performance.
If you live outside the United States, you can search for 'Clubhouse' on the Play Store and 'pre-register to be notified as soon as the app is available in your country', according to the Clubhouse for Android FAQ page.
Once you have the app downloaded, you'll still need an invite from a current Clubhouse member in order to access the app's chatrooms. Clubhouse will prompt you to sign up for the waitlist with your phone number, at which point you'll have to wait for a friend to let you in.
- More info on how to get an invite in Clubhouse
If you've already used Clubhouse on iOS, you can simply input the same phone number to get access. Once you're in, you'll likely notice some missing features from the beta.
As of May 10, Clubhouse for Android is missing the following:
- Option to follow specific topics
- In-app translations
- Creating or managing a club
- Linking your Twitter or Instagram to your Clubhouse account
- Paying speakers in-app
So, as you can see, Clubhouse for Android is still a work in progress.
When will Clubhouse officially come to Android?
We don't have a hard timeline for the final Clubhouse for Android release date. However, a May 9 blog post from the Clubhouse team gives a good estimation of when to expect the app to arrive in your country, or when iOS features will be added to Android.
'We will begin gradually, with the U.S. today [May 9], followed by other English-speaking countries and then the rest of the world,' they write. 'Our plan over the next few weeks is to collect feedback from the community, fix any issues we see and work to add a few final features like payments and club creation before rolling it out more broadly.'
Clubhouse devs will then move on to 'welcoming millions more people in from the iOS waitlist' and 'expanding language support' during the summer.
Based on that timeline, you can probably expect the beta to remain US-only through May as they fix bugs and add features. In theory, a more complete beta or the final version will then arrive in other English-speaking countries in early summer, followed by a worldwide release down the line once they've added more languages.
The blog post also emphasizes that Clubhouse will prioritize letting more iOS users in since they've been waiting for longer. Android users will need to either get an invite or get comfortable waiting while iPhone owners get let in first.
Clubhouse Android alternatives
While US Android users can start clubbing today, other folks will have to wait a bit longer. That being said, if you don't want to wait, you'll find other Android apps with audio-only chatrooms available right now.
Twitter Spaces is the first of these. It lets Twitter users create voice chat rooms and invite followers to chat on various topics. As of early May, any Twitter user with more than 600 followers can create their own audio chatroom for followers, including the option to charge people to join. Spaces is missing Clubhouse features like co-hosting and scheduling, however.
Your other Android alternative is Discord, which launched its new live audio rooms on March 31. Discord lets anyone and everyone talk in voice chat, but now Community servers can create Stage Channels where only certain members have permission to talk and everyone else is listen-only by default.
As for future competitors, Facebook is building a Clubhouse rival according to the New York Times; TechCrunch confirmed that LinkedIn is building a tool for audio networking; and Spotify acquired sports audio app Locker Room in order to repurpose its tech and let musicians and podcasters 'connect with audiences in real time.'
We don't know when these new Clubhouse rivals will arrive, but they could give Android users some exciting alternatives for chatting with famous people or strangers who share their hobbies.