Android P Will Cut Fragmentation by Withdrawing Support for Apps Developed for Android 4.1 & below
Unlike Apple Inc., Android platform hardly can impose harsh steps to cut the fragmentation issues by withdrawing quick supports to older versions of Android OS and devices. Therefore, Google takes slow but steady measures to compel developers to create apps with the supports for the latest versions only and voluntarily.
On March 7, 2018, Google has announced its 9th major Android OS release for Android app developer preview and symbolized it as Android P among the Android Central developer community. The said OS release has several revolutionary and expected features.
Since the last couple of releases and updates, Google is trying to impose a policy that Apple has adopted since its birth, and it is beating fragmentation issues by withdrawing support for older devices and OS versions.
Being a proprietary ecosystem, it is easy to implement such policies for Apple Inc. but quite tough for Google by being an open platform supporting open source OS, and a big alliance consists of a number of hardware manufacturers.
Therefore, Google is moving towards the same slowly but steadily by grabbing each upcoming opportunity. Google takes wise steps in the same direction by giving plenty of time and providing adequate resources to the 3rd party developers to create apps with support for the latest versions of Android OS as well as Android devices.
Thus, it takes a manufacturer-friendly and developer-friendly stand. Let’s see what it has done with the latest Android P release.
Manufacturers and Developer-friendly Stance
In due course, Google Inc. has taken a significant step towards mitigating OS and device level fragmentation on the eve of Android P developer preview release. It has declared that when 3rd party developers submit the apps on Play Store with Android P version of OS, the starting support will for Android 4.2 as well as fixed Android 8.0 or higher version as target submission.
Technically, it is APK teardown with a new MIN_SUPPORTED_TARGET_SDK_INT class, which blocks the latest version to work below API level 17 (below Android 4.2). Thus, it makes installation impossible for anything lower than API level 17.
Moreover, Google has clarified in last December that Android app submitted in Play Store should not be more than one year old. It means developers must submit the fresh version of an app developed with the latest technologies and for the latest version of Android OS to mitigate the fragmentation issues upfront. It has also emphasized on security issues and take a stance to address it through offerings of the latest hardware and operating systems.
Another reason to cut the support for Android 4.1 is that the version is not enough advanced to support the latest Android devices including Pixel 1 & 2.
What Android App Developers Have To Do?
With the blockage of Android 4.1 and lower version compatibility, developers have to take care of following things up front before jumping on the development board.
Ensure the app compatibility that it should be fully functional on the new Android P version.
Developers have to make small changes in APK but not any on app targetSDKVersion or anything in using the new APIs.
Android developers have to update their apps on an annual basis and ensure compatibility with the latest OS as well as devices in Android ecosystem.
Android developers can start with new API once they update targetSDKVersion and check whether apps are running successfully or not.
In the latest version Android P, Google has added an important security feature that prevents ideal apps in the devices to access the mic and camera like hardware and software features. It blocks the unauthorized access hence, hacking or any other malicious activity. It is a big step towards enhanced security and developers have brace these security features in upcoming apps with Android P and higher versions too.
Finally, Android P app developers have to test the app compatibility thoroughly and ensure the best user experiences.
The Android application development team at SysBunny is always trying to acknowledge the latest updates in Android ecosystem that can benefit other Android app developers and clients or businesses with existing as well as upcoming Android applications.
If you want to reap the advantages of our updated Android talents for your next project, feel free to put your requirements on the table.