Certain apps wouldn’t run on devices without Android 4.0.Google Chrome required Android 4.0, so devices that were never upgraded from Android 2.3 Gingerbread still can’t use Google Chrome today. Android 4.1 was also extremely important, making the interface much more smooth and less laggy with “Project Butter.” Compared to Android 4.0 and Android 4.1, the most recent versions of Android are minor updates.

When a manufacturer wants to release an Android device, they have to negotiate an agreement with Google to get the Google Play Store and Google apps on their devices.

As part of this agreement, Google reserves the right to update the Google Play Services component of Android on their own.

This component automatically updates in the background on your Android device, and there’s no way for you — or the device’s manufacturer — to stop this from occurring.

Google has been adding quite a few features to Android through Google Play Services.

These updates affect devices all the way back to Android 2.3 Gingerbread and 2.2 Froyo, released in 2010.

For example, Google has added the Android Device Manager device-tracking feature to nearly all Android devices thanks to a Google Play Services update.

Just open the Google Settings app — this entire app was added via a Play Services update — tap Android Device Manager, and enable it.

Android updates don’t matter anywhere near as much as they used to.

Most Android devices don’t get timely operating system updates, but Google is updating more and more of the Android operating system in the background.

This is Google’s real plan for battling Android fragmentation: Update as much of the operating system and its apps as possible without going through device manufacturers or carriers.

Older devices aren’t as outdated as they used to be. For example, when Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich came out, it brought an entirely redesigned interface, performance improvements, and even APIs limited to Android 4.0.