The time has finally come to say a fond farewell to Gingerbread. In a manner of speaking, that is. Back in November, Google announced Play services v10.0 would be the last release to support Android 2.3. In fact, Honeycomb was simultaneously deprecated as the minimum supported version was elevated to API level 14, also known as Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. As Play services v10.2 completes its wide rollout to Android devices, that time has officially come. Google posted a list of changes to Play services v10.2 and featured the news about leaving Gingerbread behind.
Closing up shop on Gingerbread devices doesn't mean they will cease to work. Google linked to a blog post with advice for setting up multiple app variants that build using 10.0 for Gingerbread and 10.2 and above for more recent versions of Android. And while things like the Play Store and many apps will continue to work, there will be no more new features or bug fixes in the Play services framework, and that likely means many developers will also abandon Android 2.3 users, assuming they still supported it at all. Likewise, any Google apps that have been updating for Gingerbread are likely to give up the fight pretty soon.
Additions to Google Play services
On a brighter note, version 10.2 added several new capabilities to various APIs in the Play services package. Some of the highlights include new data types for use in the Google Fit platform like blood pressure, blood glucose, and more. This was previously predicted in a teardown of the v10.2 apk. There's also an extension to the Google Sign-in API intended for game developers to make it easier for servers to access Google Play Games services. And of course, the Ads framework has been improved in many ways, particularly with regard to displaying video. (Hey, developers gotta feed themselves somehow.)
Plenty of other changes were made, but these are pretty specifically just for developers, they're not likely to impact users directly. On the list are new time-specific parameters for Awareness to better control how the Fencing and Snapshot APIs operate. The Maps API now allows custom styling of polylines and outlines, and added the ability to attach arbitrary data to geometry objects (see the separate blog post for specifics). There are also tweaks to the Firebase APIs and Nearby API, and some small breaking changes to Smart Lock for Passwords.
If you're a developer and need details on any of these changes, check out the blog post linked below. And if you've been clinging to one of those Gingerbread devices that keeps Android 2.3 lingering at 1% distribution, feel free to vent your frustrations at Google for abandoning it only 6½ years after it was released.