Android 2.3 Gingerbread has been around for close to six years now. The latest Android version is Android 7.0 Nougat. Apparently Google is closing the curtains on Gingerbread. Google has come out clear and announced that Google Play services 10.0.x is the latest version of the platform that will support Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Android Honeycomb. This essentially means that future Software Development Kit (SDK) releases won’t be able to connect to Google Play services on a Gingerbread-powered phone. Google is focused on initiating this change come early 2017.
“The Gingerbread platform is almost six years old. Many Android developers have already discontinued support for Gingerbread in their apps. This helps them build better apps that make use of the newer capabilities of the Android platform. For us, the situation is the same. By making this change, we will be able to provide a more robust collection of tools for Android developers with greater speed.”
-Google developer blogpost
Arguably, not a big percentage of Android users will be affected. From the latest Android Distribution numbers that we highlighted here only 1.3 percent of Android users still use Android Gingerbread. This figure represented a 0.2 percent decrease since September. Looking closely at Android Distribution reports one can clearly see that Android user base still stuck using Gingerbread running devices is declining gradually. Hopefully by the time Google finally ceases to support these platform the user base would have declined even further to negligible levels. It is also worth noting that Android Honeycomb did not feature in the latest Android Distribution report since any Android versions running on less than 0.1 percent of Android devices are not shown and Honeycomb fell in this category.
For those who do not know, Google Play service is an API package introduced in 2012 for delivering updates and service improvements to Android users without upgrading the entire operating system. From early next year, with the arrival of the new Google Play services update, only those Android devices running on at least Ice Cream Sandwich will be supported.