Good news for Android users who want to get involved in the livestreaming craze that’s sweeping Twitter: Meerkat has officially made it to the Google Play Store with a beta app. Its main rival, the Twitter-owned Periscope, remains iOS-only for the time being.
The Android version of Meerkat was previously available as a closed beta, but this full release doesn’t require an invite and adds more functionality.
If you’re new to these apps and the stir they’ve been creating, both Meerkat and Periscope enable you to stream a live video broadcast to your followers on Twitter. The services launched within weeks of each other: Meerkat is the independent startup underdog, while Periscope has the weight of Twitter behind it (it was a startup itself before Twitter acquired it).
Meerkat went live before Periscope, but the latter is a more polished and feature-rich app, and with Twitter pulling strings behind the scenes to promote its own service, Meerkat has got a real battle on its hands. Being available to the millions of users running Android devices is a big advantage that will count in its favor.
Twitter has previously restricted Meerkat’s access to its social graph — which means you can’t automatically add your Twitter friends on Meerkat — but despite these restrictions, CEO Ben Rubin remains optimistic. “Twitter’s move here shows how significant Meerkat has become,” he tweeted after the change was made.
Meerkat for Android is in Public Beta! 😱🙌💃Check it out: https://t.co/0dZePn0E0u
— Meerkat (@AppMeerkat) May 1, 2015
When you’re reliant on someone else’s platform for your business — whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Google or anyone else — dealing with changes to that platform comes with the territory. So far, it looks like Meerkat is managing to continue its growth, even if the cards are stacked in Periscope’s favor.
If you’re on Android, you can now see what all the fuss is about, even if you can’t yet try Periscope (there’s no word yet on an Android release for Twitter’s livestreaming tool). Note that the app is marked as a beta release, so you might see more bugs and issues than you would usually expect.