Supported Android Versions

Android Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow, and Lollipop

That’s all the way back to 2014.

What about the latest Android Beta?

We know you're all excited to try out the latest beta Android release from Google. But note that it's called Beta for a reason. It's early untested software and many things will break, including your favorite apps.

We pride ourselves on always targeting the latest public Android version, but please realize that Android Betas are very early releases meant for developers only. They often contain many severe bugs that cause correctly-written apps to crash.

As soon as a new Beta is available, we app developers start testing and investigating. There are several classes of problems we will find.

  1. The most common are bugs in the Android Platform (OS) code itself. Well-written apps and libraries should continue to work flawlessly if the underlying operating system has no bugs. But that’s hardly the case because, by definition, this is untested software that you have chosen to run. We will report any bugs to Google and wait for them to fix it in the next Beta or public release. Past Android releases have had crashing bugs even in the final release.

  2. Google’s own Support Libraries that match the OS release (28.x.y) are currently in Alpha status. This means even if any bugs related to Android P are fixed in the support library, we will NOT upgrade to it because the Alpha status puts at risk the stability of our apps on ALL versions of the OS, even stable ones upto Oreo. We must wait until Google releases stable versions of the support library.

  3. Most apps depend on third party libraries. Developers of these libraries need time to investigate issues and then fix them. Only after all such libraries are fixed can we issue a new release. This takes time, often several weeks.

  4. The final class of problems are those directly caused by our application code. These are usually the fewest because we write code compliant with Android Public APIs. These are also the easiest to fix. But until everything from (1) to (3) above is fixed, the final product will not be stable.

  5. Once all identified problems have been fixed, responsible developers will take the time to do additional testing before publishing an updated release. Expect at least a week of soak time before a release is made available to users.

  6. Even after all this, you still will have problems because we need to observe crashes happening in the wild by using telemetry, after the initial release has rolled out. This takes even more time because there are so few users running the latest version of Android at any given time.

  7. Then we’ll do a second round of fixes to everything in the list above in the same order.

We appreciate your bug reports, but please know that any time we spend in responding only takes time away from building new features and compatibility fixes that we should be working on.

And if you still would like to report an issue, please take the time to send detailed feedback and a full Android bug report with a readable stack trace. Simply sending us a rude note asking why an app won’t work on an unstable OS is not helpful at all.

On behalf of app developers everywhere, thanks for listening! We look forward to bringing you awesome new features soon.

Why not KitKat or lower?

Hermit uses the Android WebView component to render Web pages. As with all software, this must be kept updated. However, it is not possible to update WebView on Android KitKat or below because of how the operating system was designed by Google. This problem has been fixed on recent versions, starting with Android Lollipop and higher.

The WebView version on Android KitKat (version 30) is now 5+ years old, a really ancient piece of software, and has not received any security updates or new features during that time. It is a security risk to keep using such ancient software for your Web browsing. Also, many features on modern Web sites do not work correctly with such an old version. There is nothing we can do from our side to fix this.

Recommendation: Use Chrome or Firefox

Both these browsers include their own rendering engine and can be kept updated even on Android KitKat or lower. We strongly recommend you use one of them.

Recommendation: Upgrade your Phone OS

Alternatively, please contact your phone manufacturer for an update to your phone’s operating system.

Focused on bringing new, innovative features

We’re a small independent developer, so we need to make a conscious choice about every minute we spend.

We completely agree that Hermit would be a great addition to any phone. But we have to make the hard choice of whether we want to spend more time supporting older versions, or bringing new innovative features to the majority of users.