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In brief: Google has announced that it will no longer allow sign-ins on devices running Android 2.3.7 or lower starting September 27, 2021. The company dropped Play services support for such devices a couple of years ago, and is now doubling down on its effort to keep users safe online by further restricting functionality of nearly decade-old Android hardware.
They've probably become paperweights or long-shelved and forgotten about in a drawer for many users, but those still holding onto their Android Gingerbread phones and tablets need to know that Google won't let them sign-in to its apps and services from next month.
In a support document (via Bleeping Computer), Android's Community Manager, Zak Pollack, notes that users logging into apps like YouTube, Gmail and Maps will start receiving username or password errors on devices running Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread's last release) or lower versions next month.
HTC was a major player in 2011, with the highest number (13) of up-to-date phones on Gingerbread 2.3
It appears that accounts already logged in won't be affected. However, performing actions like a factory reset, changing account password, logging out and signing in or creating a new account on these older devices will block them from accessing Google's apps and services.
Secondly, users unable to upgrade their Gingerbread devices to Android 3.0 (tablet-exclusive Honeycomb version) or later in order to avoid this limitation would still have access to some Google services via their device's web browser.
Veteran Android fans also know of a third option to keep their old devices usable after Google's deadline, and that's by way of installing customized ROMs. The practice might not be as mainstream for more recent devices but remains a solid alternative for keeping decade-old Android phones and tablets in working condition.