All Apps on Play Store Must Support Oreo from Nov 2018: Google

App publishing policies on the Google Play Store have received a major new update. It has been announced on Android Developer’s Blog that from August 2018, all new applications published on the Play Store must be based on Android Oreo.

From November 2018, all existing applications are also required to have made the necessary updates to support the latest version of Android.

Improving The Safety of Play Store

At present, app developers have the leverage to target older versions of Android, and because Android Marshmallow allowed the apps to use the device’s location and camera data by default, developers did not need permissions to access these. Google has declared its intention to improve the safety of Play Store with the new policies.

Additionally, metadata will be added to the .apk file in order to verify authenticity from early 2018. Later in 2018, app developers will be required to target latest Android API and by August 2019, 64-bit versions will be required from new apps with native libraries along with the 32-bit versions.

Phasing Out Older Android Versions

As a result of these new policies, devices with older versions of Android will not be able to access new apps and apps with latest updates. This will probably force the companies to update Androids of older phones.

Google encourages developers to make apps backward compatible, but Android Central has suggested that this probably won’t happen. Which means older phones will be useless once apps receive updates or new apps arrive.

  • Targeting Oreo would not mean that the app would not work on older Android versions, PlayStore also allows uploading multiple APKs for the same app targeting different versions of the OS, Screen sizes, etc. All that is required is that one of them should target Oreo.

    The reason would be that many developers target Lollipop to avoid new permissions model of Marshmallow and to avoid push notification categories / channels of Oreo. But with this restriction they won’t be able to slip in useless permissions just because the user can not cherry pick when the target is prior to Marshmallow.

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