What you need to know
- Devices running Android Jelly Bean will not receive Play Services updates after next month.
- Android Jelly Bean was first released in 2012.
- There are currently less than 1% active Android devices running Jelly Bean.
Google has announced that it will drop support for devices running Android Jelly Bean beyond Play Services version 21.30.99, which is slated to be released by the end of August. The Android Jelly Bean platform was first released in July 2012.
Google says it has decided to discontinue updates for Jelly Bean as many of the improvements and features that have been released for Android since 2012 are not all backported, resulting in "increased developer and QA time spent on new features that require special handling."
Google is now recommending developers to use API level 19 (Android KitKat) as the minimum supported API level, since API levels 16 through 18 will no longer receive Play services updates after August. Once developers use API level 19 and update their app, those using devices with API levels less than 19 won't be able to see or download the update.
However, they will still be able to get the most recently published version of the app targeting their device. This means while devices running Jelly Bean can continue to run the best Android apps from the Play Store, they will miss out on new features. Developers can also choose to continue supporting devices running Jelly Bean by building multiple APKs that support different minimum API levels.
Google was hit with a new antitrust lawsuit over its Play Store policies earlier this week. The lawsuit, which has been filed by a coalition of 37 state attorney generals, alleges that the search giant has an "illegal monopoly" over Android app distribution through the Play Store.
A study conducted by Comscore has also alleged that Google stifles competition with its default apps on Android. The study found that twelve out of the twenty most-used Android apps in the U.S. were preinstalled by Google.