Android app developers will have to continue on without support for Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The company has confirmed that the current 10.0.0 version of Google Play Services will be the last that supports the six year old version of the OS. The next version, 10.2.0, will be released in early 2017 and will increase the minimum supported version of the OS to Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich.
In case you are not familiar with Google Play Services, it offers developers a set of software libraries to add features to their Android apps. This new move to end Gingerbread support is also extended to the company’s Firebase client libraries for Android.
It’s not hard to see the reason why Google is cutting off support for Gingerbread in Play Services. Besides the fact that this version of the OS launched in 2010, the latest Android distribution numbers show that it is only being used on 1.3 percent of all Android-based devices. Google notes that many major Android apps already don’t support Gingerbread and added that ditching support for this version of the OS in a few months will allow it to “provide a more robust collection of tools for Android developers with greater speed.”
While this change will mostly affect app developers, it shows that Google is slowly but surely ending support for its older Android versions. Our question: When will Google Play Services end support for Ice Cream Sandwich, which is being used on about the same number of Android devices as Gingerbread?