Have an old smartphone running Android 2.1 or earlier? First of all, wow. Second of all, you’re about to lose access to the Android Market (which is the precursor to the Google Play Store).

Google has announced it’s ending support for the Android Market on devices running Android 2.1 Eclair or older, effective June 30th.

That means you’ll no longer be able to download and install apps, get app updates, or do anything else that requires accessing Google’s old app marketplace.

The move comes 7 years after the release of Android 2.1, and quite honestly, odds are that not too many people will be affected. Even if you do still have a device running Eclair, I suspect you have a hard time finding compatible apps in the Android Market these days. Developers have largely moved on.

You could still enable support for installation of apps from unknown sources and install a third-party app store like F-Droid if you want to continue downloading and installing new apps.

Google says the Android Market for Android 2.2 and later will continue to be supported “for as long as feasible,” but notes that Android 2.2 also supports the Google Play Store.

While it’s kind of remarkable that Google hadn’t pulled the plug on the Android Market years ago, this is another reminder of the difference between smartphones and PCs: I bet there are plenty of you with a 7-year-old computer lying around, and it’s probably still capable of running up-to-date software. But a phone that’s been around for that long is positively ancient.

It probably makes a decent alarm clock though.

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9 replies on “Google pulls the plug on Android Market… for Android 2.1”

  1. My HTC Hero is up and running on a daily basis. Calls, messages, everything is smooth on the 2.1. Who else can state that his phone runs without recharging for 5 days while still doing what its meant to do? Well, mine does it and I do not own a newer phone and still, I’m an android developer.
    GTalk was running fine, google stopped it. Remember it’s main purpose – a chat app. Not a 5MB printing quality photo exchanging app. Is that what 4G is for? Well then, I do not need it.

  2. One of my favorite mobile strategy games (Tower Raiders 2) stopped working in various ways with Jelly Bean. All I have left that can play the whole thing is an old Gingerbread device. So I’m good for now, but I can feel the grim reaper breathing down my neck. ๐Ÿ™

  3. I still have an old HTC running gingerbread. I use it as a security camera (turn on the app Salient Eye which takes pictures of detects motion and then sends you a notification vida e-mail or sms and you can check the pics online). It’s a great and cheap home security solution if you don’t need anything too fancy and have an old phone lying around. But yeah, using it for anything else, other than maybe a flash card app), would be torture. The best part is I can just leave it plugged in and not worrying about the cramp replacement battery. Sad thing is this won’t be an option in the future with the rise of noon-replaceable batteries.

  4. I’m not sure if I ever had an Eclair device–I might have started with FroYo. Whoever is still running either is a masochist.

    1. I powered my Nexus S the other day just for kicks & giggles (it initially ran Froyo, but got updated to Jelly Bean 4.1.x) – I didn’t last 5 minutes.

    2. Nook Simple Touch ran a heavily modded Eclair for years and years. The entire Nook modding community is probably crying into their beer right now.

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