- Which Android OS version to target? [3 Updates]
Rick Richard <groovede...@gmail.com> Nov 18 07:20PM -0800
I develop for iOS and Android, but haven't developed an Android app in
about 14 months. I'm getting requests from my iOS clients to build an
Android version of their apps, but although Jelly Bean is over the 50%
there is still confusion regarding the version of Android to target. If I
target as far back as Gingerbread, I miss out on all the new Jellybean
improvements. If I develop using Jellybean the app won't run on 50% of the
active installed base!
What is the best practice of Android developers today regarding which OS
version(s) to target and why?
Cameron Mayer <camero...@gmail.com> Nov 18 10:24PM -0800
I would be inclined to target Gingerbread as a minimum unless your clients
particular needs require a previous version (e.g. the app needs to run on
older android hardware that is stuck on 2.2). If you target Jellybean, you
rule out running on 25-30% of devices because they are running Gingerbread,
and about 15% because they're running ICS.
Unless the nature of the app requires you to target a higher minimum
version, Gingerbread is probably your best bet. It's also possible to set
your minimum to support Gingerbread, and still use the new features
available in more recent versions of Android when the user's device
supports them (running KitKat, for instance). Here's the relevant
That being said, one of Google's objectives with KitKat was to make it run
on devices with as little as 512MB of RAM, so it's possible that it could
run on devices that run Gingerbread and have inadequate hardware to support
ICS/JB. Given that many of the devices (most?) are running OEM customized
versions of Android, I wouldn't hold my breath that Gingerbread will be
irrelevant any time soon though. Here's an article that talks about this:
Hope this helps,
On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 7:20 PM, Rick Richard
Trent Peterson <tr...@appthwack.com> Nov 18 11:00PM -0800--
In addition to what Rick said, I'd also challenge the assumption that
targeting older OS' means you lose out on new features. Android, like most
any software dev platform, is all about graceful degradation. To help with
this, Google provides support
there are 3rd party examples as well, like
ActionBarSherlock <http://actionbarsherlock.com/>. It's good practice to
take advantage of these abstractions and helpers, not just for backward
compatibility, but also for the future, when KitKat is no longer The New
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