Google is putting Chrome into a deep freeze for those running Android 4.0.
Chrome 42 will be the last update for devices with Ice Cream Sandwich, a nearly four-year-old version of Android. Google says on the Chromium Blog that you’ll still be able to use Chrome if you have an older device, but Chrome 42 will be the last release through the Play Store.
On an FAQ page, Google says supporting Ice Cream Sandwich requires too many compromises, with workarounds and complex code required to keep older devices on board.
This change will impact 6 percent of devices running Android, according to the Android platform version tracker. That figure has dropped 30 percent in the last year, Google says.
Chrome 42 is expected sometime in Mid-April. Once that hits, Ice Cream Sandwich users will have to hope for an Android update or start looking for a new device.
Why this matters: Sometimes optimization wins out over supporting a larger swath of devices. Phones and tablets running Ice Cream Sandwich don’t have the type of hardware that Google wants to push Chrome’s speed and capabilities forward. Fortunately it’s a small piece of the Android pie, and new devices like the Moto E show it doesn’t take an expensive phone to use the newest version of Android.