Looking Forward: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich” is the New Baseline”

We pride ourselves in adapting to the ever-changing mobile environment and adopting new technologies. Metova has been designing and developing Android apps since the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, was released. Having worked on the platform since 2008, we consider ourselves Android veterans.

Until recently, we have suggested a baseline of Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) for most customers’ mobile apps. As time marches on, however, Android 2.3.3’s share of the platform has plateaued and is now on the decline. All new devices — even the bargain basement phones carriers give away at no cost — are running some version of Jelly Bean (4.1) or KitKat (Android 4.4), which are on the rise.

With this in mind, we are moving our suggested baseline up to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Today this covers 81% of all Android devices that access the Google Play Store. In the months to come, this percentage will increase.

What does this mean for our customers? The Android UI went through an overhaul in Android 4.0, and in the past we’ve applied that newer look and feel to older devices. This has been seen as necessary to support what was once a majority of devices in the wild. As consumers have purchased newer devices and manufacturers have deployed OS updates, this backporting of UI improvements and other features has become less and less valuable to our customers.

While we are recommending Android 4.0 as a baseline for most new apps, this is not a hard and fast rule. If you already have an app on the market, you will want to review your user analytics. This will help you to determine whether it’s time to make the switch or if you should continue supporting users on older devices.

We are happy to review the data with you and help determine the best path for your application. Contact us if you are interested in a consultation, or if you have a new project you’d like to get started!

Jennifer Pike
Jennifer Pike