Google just announced that it’s ending support for Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich for future Play Service API releases.
This means that further updates for apps running on older version of Android will disappear gradually. Now Google wants developers to target API level 16 as the minimum level of support for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
According to Android Developers blog, API levels 14 and 15 will not get Google Play Services support, and the Play Store will no longer update Play Services beyond version 14.7.99.
In theory, developers can maintain and roll out updates for a version of their apps specifically for Ice Cream Sandwich users, but it’s highly unlikely that most of them would do it.
The Android 4.0 ICS platform was released seven years ago, and the active device count now stands below 1%. It was launched alongside the Galaxy Nexus and marked a significant overhaul in Google’s design language as well.
Currently, out of 2 billion+ monthly active Android users, a majority runs on Android 7.0 Nougat followed by Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Android 8.0 Oreo.
For quite some time now, Google has been trying to push developers to release apps which target the latest version of Android. Last month Google made it mandatory for app developers to target Android 8.0 and higher.
Given that older versions of Android are slowly disappearing from the active users list, we can expect such announcements for other Android versions too.
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