Almost since the beginning of the development, Slideshow app supported versions of Android operating system all the way back to 4.0.3, which was released by Google on 16 December 2011. Although the devices with Android 4 have not been sold for many years, some of them still work fine and are being used every day for digital signage. As of October 2021 they amount of approximately 1.4% of all the devices with Slideshow installed through Google Play, down from 3.6% in October 2010. We expect this number to drop even more in the future.

Slideshow installations by Android version
Slideshow installations by Android version

Problems with old Android versions

Google is adding new features for application developers with each new Android version. Some of the new features can be easily backported by the developers to older Android versions, some of the features must be implemented in a different way and some are simply 100% incompatible. Here are just a few examples:

  • Support for gradient background is available only from Android 4.1
  • Support for displaying XLSX files could be realistically implemented only on Android 5+
  • There is no universal and direct way to rotate video on Android 4.4 and older while using hardware accelerated decoding

Together there are over 40 places in Slideshow’s source code where special handling for older Android versions is necessary, sometimes requiring to completely turn off a feature for older versions.

What's next?

Because the amount of time needed for testing and supporting Slideshow on old Android versions is rising, we have made an uneasy decision. In the first quarter of 2022, the minimal Android version required for new versions of Slideshow app will be changed from Android 4.0.3 to Android 5. It will allow us to simplify the source code, make it more bug-resistant and dedicate more time to adding new interesting features.

Devices with Android 4.0.3 to 4.4.4 can continue running Slideshow, but they won’t get any more updates with new features after the change is made. The last version of Slideshow supporting these versions will be marked in the release notes and will remain available for download for free.

Devices with Android 5 and newer won’t be affected by this change in any negative way. We will be fully supporting all Android versions released during the last 7 years.