Google Play Services To Shun Ancient Android 2.3 Gingerbread and 3.0 Honeycomb Devices

Heads up folks, the latest version of Google Play services will be the last one to support Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Android 3.0 Honeycomb devices. Google put the word out in a blog post on Monday, saying that Google Play services 10.0.0 and Firebase 10.0.0 client libraries for Android will be the last versions to support Android API level 9 (Android 2.3 Gingerbread).

The next scheduled release is Google Play services version 10.2.0, which will increase the minimum supported API level from 9 to 14 (Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich) when Google releases it to the public sometime in early 2017. That will effectively leave Gingerbread and Honeycomb behind, rendering them obsolete platforms. For what purpose? Simply put, they're both old versions that most developers have moved away from anyway.

Android Honeycomb

"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 said.

Google recommends that developers start targeting API level 14 or higher. Doing so would prevent users on Gingerbread and Honeycomb devices from receiving app updates, but Google doesn't feel many such devices are actively being used anyway. In addition, developers have the option of building multiple APKs if they really want to continue supporting legacy hardware.

As it stands, Gingerbread builds (Android 2.3.3 to 2.3.7) are only found on 1.3 percent of all Android devices, according to the Android Developers Dashboard. Honeycomb doesn't even register a blip on the Dashboard, meaning that its distribution sits at less 0.1 percent.