Android’s fragmentation has long been cited together as its biggest problem, but, to some extent, it’s also a strength. While the bulk of today’s Android devices run versions of the OS from a minimum of two to 3 years ago, there are still various these that are ready to keep functioning with even older versions. But, of course, these can’t keep it up running forever, and it seems that Google is slowly pulling the plug on these, especially the original ancient versions of Android.
Android 2.3, a.k.a. “Gingerbread,” was the most-used version of Android within the market for the longest time. After the Honeycomb disaster and even with the reparations of frozen dessert Sandwiches, Gingerbread remained the go-to release for several devices. But, of course, that was just about a decade ago, which is eons for the fast-moving smartphone industry, and it’s surprising to listen to that there are still a couple of active devices out there which may be using it.
Those probable numbers are within the dozens, but Google is playing it safe by noticing that these devices could be left during a broken state next month. Starting September 27, devices running on Android 2.3.7 or lower will not be ready to check in to Google accounts. Google explains that this is often to ensure a Google account’s security, implying that these older Android versions presumably have unpatched vulnerabilities that would compromise said accounts.
This change applies to signing into apps like Gmail or YouTube but even when signing into a Google account on the phone itself. This suggests that if you reset your phone or get signed out of it (because you initiated a password change elsewhere), you won’t be ready to check in to your Google account anymore. You can, however, still sign into Gmail or other Google services from a mobile browser.
It seems that Google is slowly isolating older Android devices by shutting down access to its servers. Early last month, it announced that phones running Android 4.3 jelly egg or older would lose access to Google Play Services, which could effectively break some apps. It’s somewhat amazing that some devices are still running on these nearly ancient Android versions, except for their security and convenience. They ought to probably upgrade to newer ones if they still haven’t.