Google Play Services and Firebase to Drop Support for Gingerbread in Early 2017
This week, Google announced some future plans that they have for both Google Play Services, as well as Firebase for Android. Google Play Services version 10.0.x is what is currently available and this will continue to support Gingerbread devices. Things will be changing with the upcoming 10.2.x release though, and Google says this will be made to the public sometime “in early 2017.” We don’t know exactly when, but it will likely happen within the first quarter of next year.
Since Gingerbread is a 6-year-old platform, Google feels they will be able to provide a more robust collection of tools for Android developers once they no longer have to support the platform. The latest Android distribution numbers, which were released in November, say that only 1.3% of active devices (connecting to the Play Store) are using the Gingerbread OS. So we’ve already seen developers drop support for this version anyway.
Google reminds developers that they will still be able to use Google Play Services and Firebase as they are today. It’s just that new features that get added will not be able to be able to work on these devices since they can’t update to version 10.2.x. So developers have the option of publishing an application that targets API level 14 (which is what Google recommends), or you can build multiple APKs that specifically support an API level less than 14. You should be able to do this with build variants within Gradle.
Google has also published the official change log for Google Play Services version 10.0. Along with a warning that Gingerbread support is being dropped soon, this update includes some changes to the Cast API, some improvements to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) scans, the reintroduction of Nearby Notifications and some improvements and bug fixes from the latest update of Firebase.Source: Android Developers Blog