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Android / Google to make outdated apps less accessible

Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 2nd Jun 2022 19:24 Edited at: 3rd Jun 2022 02:06
This Article wrote: "Google will hide apps and block installation to users running Android OS versions higher than the apps' target API level, or within two years of it."

i have nothing on Google Play but don't a lot of us generally export with the Minimum Android Version set pretty low to accommodate older devices (current export minimum API = 16. IE, 10 years old) ?

is Minimum Android Version considered the app's "target API level"?

anyway, thought this was worth passing along.
Valued Member
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Posted: 3rd Jun 2022 13:52
I've been confused by this myself. It seems to be a balancing act between developers trying to make their apps run on the widest range of devices as possible (including older ones) and Google wanting people to upgrade their devices to the newest versions of Android (for sales and security etc).

I'm never sure what is for the best so I tend to leave AppGameKit export set to the lowest minimum Android version allowed too. This may have to change though if apps start to disappear from search results.
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Posted: 4th Jun 2022 21:49 Edited at: 4th Jun 2022 21:50
I'd argue a problem with Android and Apple is that their Platform API are not Modular like Microsoft' Windows SDK.
What I mean is that Microsoft Store also has a feature that will hide Incompatible Apps from various devices.

Now I won't bother delving into that as AppGameKit doesn't support (WinRT / UWP), just keep in mind while a similar concept works quite differently.

Still, I would point out that the concept that AppGameKit itself takes of "Widest Support" is a false idea and not one that you as a Developer should NOT be sharing.
What I mean is the concept of people keeping their Handsets for as long as possible is an archaic concept that WE might've become accustomed to, because until the advent of the Smart Phone the concept of "Upgrades" being part of a Mobile Contract was rare.

You typically would pay for your Contract and would get a DISCOUNT on Upgrades, but they wouldn't be provided Free.
Today however... even on the Budget Contracts., once you hit 18 - 24 months you're offered a Free Upgrade to the latest Model in the same Tier as the one you got with the Contract.
While PAYG used to be common., at least within Europe and South America... today this has changed since the advent of Smart Phones.

Simply do a survey of your Friends and Family... see how many of them have Handsets that are over 3 years old.
I guarantee you such individuals will be outliers and more importantly will NOT be Gaming on their Mobile Device.

Remember the Mobile Phone Market is at present approx. 4.6 Billion Devices., and 1.8 Billion Devices are Shipped each year.
Most Suppliers either deliberately or simply can't keep produce to meet Demand.
So, you're looking at almost 40% of the Device Market being Supplied each Year., you think they'd do that if they weren't shifting inventory?

Some is going to be Failure Rates (up to 3% is typically "Acceptable"), Some will be New Customers (at this point we're at Saturation Point, so again we're looking at maybe 2-3%), Some will be as Repair Components (maybe 5%) from Damaged Handsets; especially since more are being produced as "Sealed" Units as opposed to easily repairable / replaceable components.
So what are we down to... what 30% of the Market having a new Handset each Year., and you consider the 18-24 month Upgrade eligibility; well this heavily suggests MOST are on a Handset at most 3 years old.

That's what you should be targeting.
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Posted: 7th Jun 2022 20:22
Quote: "is Minimum Android Version considered the app's "target API level"?"

No, there is a distinction between the target API level and the minimum supported. And because of this difference AGK/S is fine for the time being.

The target API is for the latest version an app supports for things like security and various other related functions/operations. It's important to keep that as current as feasible and AGK/S has done a pretty good job of that.

The minimum API is how far back the app will go to operate on older versions of Android. This can be as old as the versions of OpenGL running on those older devices AGK/S can support. Currently it's not an issue to go back as far as 4.1 (API 16) for that with AGK/S. But developers would need to be aware of things like Adreno 200-300 series GPU's failing to support certain hardware feature sets needed for even simple shader operations (resulting in blank white or black surfaces on objects with such shaders applied). However, that is more on a hardware level and would only impact developers more focused on 3D graphics that use shaders. Plus, you can exclude such incompatible devices within the Google Play console while keeping an app available to other compatible devices. Otherwise, going back to API 16 is fine in most cases and generally, the wider the range, the bigger your potential audience. There are still a lot of older devices out there being used, especially tablets and many such devices kept specifically just for a little mobile gaming by their owners. They have no upgrade path and still work just fine for their users.

Google has already been removing/blocking apps with outdated targeted API's for quite a long time, although fairly intermittently. So maybe they are just trying to establish a set timeframe for when they will do so in the future.
Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 10th Jun 2022 16:04
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Posted: 24th Jul 2022 12:47
thanks it was helpful

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