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Google last year ended the Play Services support for Android Gingerbread 2.3 and the seven-years-old Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is now the next in queue.

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released over 7 years ago and Google believes it’s time to retire this old sweet treat.

  • This week the company announced that Google Play Services is discontinuing support for API 14 and API 15. This includes Android versions 4.0 to 4.0.4.

Older versions of Android are slowly dying out. Google last year ended the Play Services support for Android Gingerbread 2.3 and the seven-years-old Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is now the next in queue. Google has announced that it is ending the Play Services support for ICS platform for future API releases.

Google on the Android Developer Blog has posted that active device count for the Android Ice Cream Sandwich has been below 1 per cent for some time which is why the company has decided to end support for the Android ICS for future Google Play Services. This means the apps updates for older versions of Android will receive less number of updates now.

Google instead targets API level 16 as the minimum level of support. The developers are receommended to increase the minSdkVersion value in their app’s build.gradle to at least 16. However, the post adds that if an app has large number of users running on older Android versions, in that case the developer can build multiple APKs to support those devices.

“If you update your app in this way and publish it to the Play Store, users of devices with less than that level of support will not be able to see or download the update. However, they will still be able to download and use the most recently published version of the app that does target their device,” says the blog post.

Very few devices are running the older Android versions. The Google’s distribution list shows that as of October 26 there are only 0.03 per cent of Android ICS users and 0.2 per cent on Android Gingerbread. The largest number of users are now on version of Nougat i.e. API level 25 or 25.

Android Ice Cream Sandwich was the ninth version of Android and was launched by Google in year 2011 alongside the Galaxy Nexus. In fact Nexus was the first device to ship with Android 4.0 with Google later rolling it out to Nexus S on the same day. The Android Ice Cream Sandwich marked an evolution of Google’s design language. It came with an overhauled interface which included new gestures, new widgets and virtual buttons on the System Bar. The platform also marked the birth of a new type of font called Roboto which was designed mainly for the high-res displays.

Vikram
Vikram Aadi extensively covers Asia's personal device and connected services ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or via mail: vikram@thb2.com.

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