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Google finally takes Android Gingerbread and Honeycomb off life support

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Android 7.0 Nougat

A moment of silence, please: Google has discontinued support for two of the oldest versions of its Android operating system.

In an upcoming update to Google Play Services, Google will finally kill off support for Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The 10.2.0 update, which is expected to roll out in early 2017, will increase the minimum supported API level to 14 – that’s Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Gingerbread platform is almost six years old,” explains Doug Stevenson, Developer Advocate at Google. “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.”

He added: "By making this change, we'll be able to provide a more robust collection of tools for Android developers with greater speed.”

Android Gingerbread launched way back on 6 December 2010, with the latest version arriving on 21 September 2011. It was the followup to 2.2.3 Froyo, and introduced support for extra-large screen sizes, a new UI, and support for NFC – years before we needed it for Android Pay.

As of 5 September 2016, around 1.5% of all Android devices that access Google Play were still running Gingerbread.

Then came Honeycomb 3.0 on 22 February 2011, which was a new Android variant designed for devices with larger screen sizes, specifically tablets. It debuted with the long-forgotten Motorola Xoom tablet, which featured an Nvidia Tegra 2 T20 chip, 1GB of RAM, and a 5-megapixel primary camera.

Honeycomb also added a two-pane UI for the Email and Contacts app, a new full-screen mode for the Gallery app, and a redesigned keyboard for typing on tablets.

If you’re a developer, Google has issued a handy guide on what these new changes to Google Play Services mean for you.

Related: Google Pixel

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