If you’re still using an old Android device – one that’s running Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread) or earlier – keep in mind that you won’t be able to sign into apps like Gmail or YouTube with your Google account after the end of September.
According to a Google forum post, the functionality for afflicted devices will cease on September 27, albeit if you really need to, you may still access these services on old hardware via the built-in web browser.
The company recently announced in an email to users with active Android 2.3.7 and lower devices that “signing in to your account on Google apps will no longer be supported.” Android 1.0, 1.1 (unnamed), 1.5 Cupcake, 1.6 Donut, 2.0 Eclair, 2.2 Froyo, and 2.3 Gingerbread are all covered. In September of 2011, version 2.3.7 was released.
Given that the tablet-focused Android 3 (Honeycomb) and Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) both debuted in 2011, we’re only talking about a tiny percentage of devices here, and the great majority of users shouldn’t be concerned.
“If you sign into your device after September 27, you may get username or password errors when you try to use Google products and services like Gmail, YouTube, and Maps,” the post explains, with users recommended to upgrade their software if possible.
This is to “help protect your account’s security,” Google says, with the following activities resulting in a “username or password error.”
First And Foremost, Safety
Part of the reason for the cut-off point is security: newer software is much more secure than older software, especially when compared over a 10-year period – and no one wants their Google account to be compromised by an old vulnerability.
Devices running Android 2.3.7 are also missing out on a decade’s worth of new features and innovations that Google has added to its mobile operating system since then, so an upgrade is long overdue.
In terms of security patches and updates for Google Play services, which handle a lot of background tasks for these updates, these older versions of Android have long been left behind. Next month, Google Play services support for Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) will be phased out.
The news that Google sign-in support for devices running Android 2.3.7 or earlier will be removed will only affect a small percentage of users and possibly a couple of electronics gadget museums.
However, it serves as a reminder of how critical it is for Google and other tech behemoths to establish cutoff points for older software and hardware as newer versions and devices are released. No one wants to see their electronics become obsolete, but support cannot last indefinitely.
Older technology simply cannot execute modern software, resulting in security flaws, huge development headaches, and user experiences that deteriorate with time.
In terms of Google sign-in support, Android 2.3.7 had a solid run – and even if you aren’t affected, it’s worth noting that you should always get the newest software updates for your devices as they become available.