If you thought the arrival of livestreaming app Periscope signaled the end for much-talked-about Meerkat, think again. The team behind the app that created a significant stir at South by Southwest in Austin last month said Wednesday it’s coming to Android. That’s a big move considering Periscope is still iOS-only.
To be clear, Meerkat lands on Android in beta, but anyone who wants to take it for a spin can do so now by signing up here. It’s not clear if there’s a limit on numbers, but try it and see.
Meerkat enjoyed a lot of positive publicity in the weeks after its launch in February, but then along came Periscope, which, with strong backing from owner Twitter, is fighting hard to become the go-to app for mobile livestreaming. Periscope is also working on an Android version, but hasn’t said when it might launch, so the tussle between the two could certainly get interesting if Meerkat manages a full release to Android users before its rival.
While users of both apps rely to some extent on Twitter to build a following for their livestreams, Meerkat was dealt a blow recently when the social media giant restricted its integration into the Twitter app, making it hard not only for Meerkat users to publicize their streams, but also for the startup behind Meerkat to build a community. CEO Ben Rubin said Twitter’s disruptive move demonstrated “how significant Meerkat has become.”
But that’s not all Twitter’s done. Keen to see its recent acquisition win out in the battle of the livestreaming apps, the company has apparently been contacting high-profile Meerkat users to suggest they switch to Periscope.
If Meerkat can launch a full Android version soon, you can bet many curious users, their interest piqued by the recent widespread publicity, will head straight to the Play store to download the free software, a scenario both Periscope and Twitter will be keen to avoid. Meerkat will still be at a disadvantage when it comes to reaching users through Twitter, but beating Periscope to Google’s mobile platform could be key to its long-term survival.