Google has announced that is is discontinuing support for Gingerbread and Honeycomb in Google Play services. Version 10.0.0 of the Google Play services client libraries, as well as the Firebase client libraries for Android, will be the last version of these libraries that support Android API level 9 (Android 2.3, Gingerbread).
The next version of release of these libraries, version 10.2.0 are scheduled for an early release in 2017. This will increase the minimum supported API level from 9 to 14 (Android 4.0.1, Ice Cream Sandwich). As per this month’s Android distribution numbers 1.3% of Android devcies are still running on Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich.
After upgrading to version 10.2.0 or above, developers will have to either target API level 14 as the minimum supported version or build multiple APKs to support devices with an API level less than 14.
Doug Stevenson, Developer Advocate, said in a post,
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.