Questions re deciding what version of Android to target in 2013 [closed]
I'm an experienced Java programmer but new to Android. Two basic questions: as of now (i.e. let's say, an app to be released early 2013), what Android version should one be thinking of targeting to cover a reasonable majority of devices? Has this changed, for example, from the advice given a year ago? as I understand, whether or OS updates are available on Android devices is down to the manufacturer. In practice nowadays, what indication can we get as to what roughly what proportion of devices allow the user to update the OS version? Please note that I am asking for answers based on factual information about the current state of affairs regarding Android installs and not asking for a "debate" about the morals of programming for different APIs as for some reason seems to have been assumed by the trigger-happy closers.
You can always refer Google's official OS version distribution dashboard here: https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html It gives you great up-to-date information on the market share of each version of android and the types of devices in use (screen resolutions, sizes etc) These are the latest figures: For 2013 and above, I'd be looking at Gingerbread (it'll still be around), ICS and Jelly Bean.
Android updates adoption is improving. If you are targeting 2013, I would target JellyBean. Most of the major device manufacturers upgrade their flagship phones for a period of 18 months from the device release date.
According to Google It's best practice to always target the newest version and fall back to the older apis programmatically when ever possible and make use of the compatibility library provided.
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