Devs Hack Together Their Own Clubhouse Android Apps

With no Android version of Clubhouse available, developers are making their own.
February 22, 2021, 5:28pm
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Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

Audio-focused app Clubhouse is currently only available to iOS users, and by extension, only to people who can afford (and who choose to own) an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Over the past few days, however, several independent developers have hacked together their own Android implementations of the increasingly popular app, potentially letting non-iOS users join the platform too.

Although Clubhouse may introduce its own official Android app at a later date, these developers have looked at how Clubhouse was designed and have been able to piece one together themselves. Android has a much higher market share in many countries outside of the global west, where Clubhouse has quickly become popular. Globally, roughly 85 percent of smartphone users use Android; iOS is more popular in the U.S. and Japan.

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"I thought I could make an Android app based on that reverse engineered API. It was almost too easy because of how much Clubhouse offloaded to third parties that have easy to use SDKs," Gregory Klyushnikov, a developer of one of the Android versions of Clubhouse, told Motherboard in an email. The API Klyushnikov referred to is one that another developer posted to Github.

Klyushnikov says on his Github that the code was more of a proof-of-concept, and told Motherboard that the project was "just for fun, mostly." The Github page says the client lets users login, join rooms, listen and speak, and many more of the usual Clubhouse features you would expect.

"Registration should work, but I suggest that you better use an iOS device to register," he adds on the client's Github repository, meaning Android users may still face some roadblocks.

This Website Made Clubhouse Conversations Public

People do appear to be using Klyushnikov's app.

"Everything works fine, well, there are lags, mistakes, you just update the room and everything is more or less aligned," one user wrote in Russian on Twitter. They also tweeted screenshots of the app.

"Wow, my shit code works," Klyushnikov told the user.

Motherboard found two other Github repositories that claim to offer Android versions of Clubhouse. Both are currently in development, according to the repositories' commit history.

"This isn't intended to be a replacement for the official app when it comes out," Klyushnikov told Motherboard. "As a long-time Android user, I remember that Instagram craze when it was iOS-only, but at the time filters were its defining feature. I doubt anyone dared to reverse engineer them, and building an app without them wouldn't make much sense. But, Instagram had an official API that allowed doing everything except creating posts, so there were many read-only Android apps based on that."

Clubhouse is still in an invite-only phase, where a current user must refer somebody to allow them to join the platform. Clubhouse did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the homemade Android implementations of its service.

Another developer made a tool that scraped audio from Clubhouse rooms en masse. The developer then put this audio on a website, letting anyone, including non-Clubhouse users, listen. Clubhouse subsequently blocked the account used to collect the audio.

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