A few weeks ago, Google met with Samsung suggesting that they relax with the software overlay used. This was in part due to Samsung’s new Magazine UX going overboard. It is Google’s way of getting a better handle on their open ecosystem. Today, a leaked document obtained by Android Police shows Google’s next step. They would like all OEMs to launch new devices with the latest version of Android. To gain access to Google Mobile Services, which includes Google Apps and Google Play services, the manufacturer must comply with that ultimatum.
So what will happen with the older versions? They will be killed off. The image above, from Android Police, shows when Google is no longer offering certification. Everything from Android 2.3 Gingerbread to 4.1 Jelly Bean has already seen its date go by. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is next in April and Android 4.3 will follow in July. In all, Google plans on making sure that all Android phones released in the future will remain no less than two versions behind. Impressive if it all goes according to the plan.
In the memo obtained by Android Police, the Android team says:
Starting February 2014, Google will no longer approve GMS distribution on new Android products that ship older platform releases. Each platform release will have a “GMS approval window” that typically closes nine months after the next Android platform release is publicly available. (In other words, we all have nine months to get new products on the latest platform after its public release.)
Source: Android Police