I’m currently working on upgrading my app Address Location Finder. While most of the changes are internal improvements or bug fixes, there are 2 major changes for users.
1. The map will be dropped from the app.
The simple built-in map screen will be removed from the app for the next version. In the future it will come back as an optional add-on.
I was getting quite a few error reports from users trying to run the app on devices that did not have the mapping requirements.
One of the requirements stated in the Google Play app store for the app was:
– device that supports the standard Google Mapping API (not the same as having the Google Maps app installed)
This means the manufacturers need to have licensed the Google Mapping API v1 for the device in order for the map in Address Location Finder to work. Unfortunately it may be difficult for users to know whether their device has this requirement or not, possibly resulting in the app crashing.
So, removing the map from the app will remove this requirement and allow it to run on more devices (as well as reducing app crashes).
The map will become an optional add-on app for a future version of Address Location Finder.
2. The app will require Android 4.0.3+ to run.
The minimum API level to run the app will be raised to 15, which means it will now require Android version 4.0.3+ on the device to run.
The original minimum API level required for Address Location Finder was 8 (Android 2.2).
According to the Google dashboard for platform version, devices running Android 2.x now account for only about 10%.
Supporting old versions requires a fair bit of additional work
- needs more testing
- requires additional code, e.g. Android support library, to implement newer Android functionality
- may require internal version checks for functions that would not work on old versions, possibly with alternate code
This all means it takes longer for updates of the app to come out. The diminishing returns in supporting the old versions is not really worth the extra effort and time.
Users with Android older than 4.0.3 who have already installed the app can just continue to use the old version of the app. They should not even see the new version of the app when it comes to the Google Play app store, since the store applies various filters to determine which apps to display (include the minimum Android version require to run).