Google wants to take some of the features that have been added in later versions of Android and offer them to devices still running older versions of its operating system.
In a blog post on the Android Developers website, the company announced a new Extension SDK framework that will allow developers to offer certain features from newer versions of Android to devices running select older versions.
Android 10 and higher support Modular System Components that allow us to expedite functional and security updates to the Android ecosystem outside of major API level releases and make new functionality backward compatible on already-released Android versions. These improvements help make development more flexible and broaden the reach for app developers. We’ve built a new Extension SDK framework for you to integrate with these APIs, and today, we’re releasing the first public version of the Extension SDK (Extension Level 4).
The company specifically calls out that the latest generation of the Photo Picker, a feature that has been limited to Android 13, will now be available to devices running Android 11 or Android 12.
Extension SDKs also allow us to extend the support of certain platform functionality to existing Android versions, increasing user reach. For example, the PhotoPicker APIs previously available only on API level 33 (Android T) and above are now also available all the way back to API level 30 (Android R) through the Extension SDK on devices with an R extension version of at least 2.
The public version of the Extension SDK is available now for developers to take advantage of the benefits. It will be cool to see some features of Android that have been limited to newer versions of the operating system expand to devices running older versions.
This is a big win for those with older phones who wish they had newer features and developers who can expand the amount of users enjoying their latest innovations.