Report: Google to Force OEMs to Provide Recent Android Builds or Lose Access to Google Apps
February 11, 2014 9:36 AM
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Google may be ready to force more OEMs to deliver new devices with current versions of Android
One of the biggest issues for many with the Android ecosystem today is fragmentation. The problem is that there are still many new smartphones and tablets shipped today that don’t include a current build of Android. This annoyance becomes even worse when you consider that many OEMs drag their feet when it comes to providing OS updates for customers.
According to a new report from
, Google is going to force OEMs to certify their Android devices with a recent version of the Android OS if they want to gain access to Google Mobile Services (GMS). GMS includes a license for apps like Gmail, Google Play, Maps, YouTube, etc.
GMS approval window open (AOSP release date)
GMS approval window close
Ice Cream Sandwich
4.1 (API level 16)
4.2 (API level 17)
4.3 (API level 18)
4.4 (API level 19)
TBA with API level 20 release
The chart above (which was reportedly sent to an unnamed Android OEM partner) clearly shows the window for OEMs to certify a device running Android 4.1 or lower has closed. This is particularly interesting since
Android 4.1 continues to be the most popular version
If this chart is accurate, that means that as of now, any new device submitted to Google for GMS approval needs to be running at least Android 4.2 or higher.
A description from Google that is claimed to have been sent along with the chart reads:
Starting February 2014, Google will no longer approve GMS distribution on new Android products that ship older platform releases. Each platform release will have a “GMS approval window” that typically closes nine months after the next Android platform release is publicly available. (In other words, we all have nine months to get new products on the latest platform after its public release.)
Google promises to help OEMs with continued optimization for Android with low memory devices. Google also says that it will provide OEM partners early access to new OS releases via the Platform Development Kit.
, this new policy does
affect device updates; it only pertains to the version of Android installed on brand new hardware.
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RE: Takes Care of the New. But, What of the Old?
2/11/2014 1:37:15 PM
Gartner says there are currently 1.9 billion active Android devices. If true, that 1.3% for Froyo works out to about a 25 million devices. Small in percentage terms, but big in numerical terms. I'm sure those hanger-ons mean nothing to Google, itself. It's just that developers have to make a choice with their apps for the lowest version they'll support. By having to keep that version low, they restrict themselves in what programming methods they can use and increase their testing requirements.
RE: Takes Care of the New. But, What of the Old?
2/11/2014 4:12:52 PM
Yeah, that's a lot of bull.
Differences between Android APIs are not as big as some would have you believe. Besides a few specialized APIs, you can do anything you want with JB. If you don't absolutely have to have the butter-smooth UI, GB will do just fine. Nothing different from having to support DX9 and DX10 on Windows really. It's just that coming from the app store, developers have gotten lazy.
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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