The longevity of Android operating systems is a touchy subject. While specific devices don't receive long-lasting support like iOS does, specific operating systems often receive far more support. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, as the long-supported Android Jelly Bean is about to be dropped.
Released in July 2012, Android Jelly Bean has been active for the past nine years. Despite seven released new operating systems releasing in the past, Google has continued to support Android 4.0 with Google Play Services.
Jelly Bean no more
On Thursday, Google revealed that Android Jelly Bean will no longer be receiving updates within Google Play Services. In the nine years since its release, Android has seen a lot of under-the-hood improvements that were not backported to the older version.
At the end of August, the older Android OS will see no future updates from Google. For Android apps, the company is also recommending that developers use API levels 16 through 18 to support new features.
Developers will be able to create app versions designed entirely for the older operating system. However, those versions of apps will not be able to take advantage of newer Android features. As Google is becoming stricter on Google Play Store regulations, they may not be published either.
Only affects a small percentage of devices
Google's announcement to end support for Android 4 did come with some news that Jelly Bean is a very rare OS. Google claims that, as of yesterday, around 1% of Android users are still rocking Android 4.
While that sounds miniscule, there are currently an estimated 3 billion Android users worldwide. Just 1% of that number is a massive 3 million user base of Android Jelly Bean that will no longer be supported.