Periscope, the promising live-streaming app owned by Twitter, arrives on Android today. Like its cousin on iOS, which debuted two months ago to the day, Periscope for Android lets you watch and record broadcasts from your mobile device. Reaching 1 million users in its first 10 days, Periscope has so far proven a hit with celebrities and media personalities, but is also being used for acts of citizen journalism and pirating pay-per-views.
Periscope for Android opens to a list of current and recent broadcasts from the people you're following. (When you first open it, Periscope will suggest you follow everyone you're following on Twitter.) If nothing current is happening, you can swipe right to the next screen, which shows you broadcasts happening around the world.
The third screen shows you the most popular users of the app, judged by the number of hearts people have sent them by tapping on the screen, which is ... not a good measure of how popular a user is. But if you're interested in following people who have somehow rigged the system to give themselves millions of hearts for doing nothing in particular, follow away. More interesting on the third screen: you can access your profile and search for people by name.
A different way to start a broadcast
The biggest difference between the iOS and Android versions of the app is the way you start a broadcast. On iOS it's the central tab; on Android, it's a big red button that appears on the broadcast screens, in accordance with Google's Material Design principles. There are also a couple of minor, Android-specific features. Push notifications are slightly more granular, though there's still no way to toggle notifications from individual accounts. And if you switch away from a broadcast to another app, you can return to it from a banner placed inside the notification drawer.
But if you've had a chance to use Periscope on iOS, you won't see too many surprises. "When you go into a broadcast, it's going to be very much like the standard Periscope that you have come to know and love, with the hearts and comments and all of that," says Sara Haider, who led the Android project.
Periscope is now available in the Google Play Store, and should work on phones running Android 4.4 (KitKat) and above.