Every once in a while, we evaluate the market share of various mobile operating systems to see whether or not we should officially support them in Ionic.
Unfortunately, older versions of some platforms like Android can be difficult to test, as the emulators function differently than the devices, and the devices become harder to find and less widely used. On top of that, mobile browser APIs have become exponentially better in the last two years alone, and older platforms just aren’t good enough for great mobile web experiences.
Fortunately, these trends are happening across the market, and old versions of Android are dying off rapidly.
Today, we are updating our officially support Android version for Ionic 1 and 2. Going forward, we will only support Android 4.1 and above. We no longer support 4.0.x or anything pre 4. We also recommend using Crosswalk on versions < 4.4, as newer versions of Chrome are considerably more performant and stable than the stock Android browsers shipped in the highly-fragmented 4.x era (a problem that seems to be getting resolved).
Here are the official Android market share stats from Google as of January 1st, 2016:
We’ve always considered Ionic to be ahead of the curve, in the sense that we think the web’s best days on mobile are ahead, not behind. We need to constantly shed some of the dead weight that is keeping the web platform back on mobile, of which old Android versions are some of the heaviest.