Google’s Extension SDK aims to bring the latest features to older versions of Android • TechCrunch
Fragmentation is a long-standing complaint about the Android ecosystem. Often users do not get the features of the latest version of Android because they are using older devices that are no longer updated. To bridge the gap, Google released the first public version of the Extension SDK, which aims to bring features from the latest version of Android to older iterations.
As part of this announcement, Google is opening support for the Photo Picker API to Android 11 and Android 12. The photo picker allows users to provide access to a selection of photos from their library to an app – for the At the moment, only Android 13 users can use the latest photo selection interface.
Notably, since this is an SDK app, developers will need to include this feature in their apps. But users won’t need a system update to use the photo picker.
The Extension SDK also provides support for implementing AdServices APIs to prepare for the launch of Android Privacy Sandbox. The Android Privacy Sandbox is Google’s new ad stack to replace cookies in Chrome. Currently, Google is testing Privacy Sandbox on a limited number of devices running Android 13 with a broader beta launch planned for this year. With components like the Extension SDK, Google will aim to roll out Privacy Sandbox support to devices running older versions of Android.
Google has tried to compress feature rollout times through programs like Project Mainline, which was introduced with Android 10 to make the operating system more modular and push features through Google Play. So, users don’t have to wait for phone manufacturers to release a software update. The Extension SDK is another step in that direction.