Google is turning the final page and closing the book on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, as they have stated that after Google Play Services 10.0.x, the older version of Android software will no longer be receiving updates to newer versions of the Play Services APK. This means that any apps which need to connect to Google Play Services for anything will essentially no longer support Android 2.3 Gingerbread devices either once they update to a new version of Play Services. For now, this won’t happen until Google releases Play Services 10.2, but that likely isn’t very far off. Having said that, Google does not mention any exact time for when the next version of Google Play Services will arrive, so this should serve as more of a notification to users that are still on Android 2.3 devices about the ending of support for the service.
While this is sure to be a little bit disappointing to some users who are still on Gingerbread devices, Android distribution puts Gingerbread users at around 1.3 percent of the current scope of different versions that are still out there in the wild. Compared to the likes of Android KitKat and above, 1.3 percent isn’t a whole lot of users, which is likely why Google has finally decided to stop supporting that version of software in the Play Services app.
Gingerbread won’t be the only version getting cut off from Google Play Services support, as Google notes on the Android Developers Blog that the minimum Support API level is being bumped up from 9 to 14, which is Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich. This means that Android Honeycomb, which is version 3.0, will also lose support for Google Play Services once version 10.2 hits the scene. As stated above Google does not mention an exact time frame for this change, but they do mention that it will be taking place sometime in early 2017, so it could be coming in January or it could be a little bit later. Either way, while this doesn’t mean that Google Play Services will stop working completely on Gingerbread and Honeycomb devices, it does mean that some apps will eventually stop working, unless they decide to provide a version of the app that is meant to work with an older version of Google Play Services.