Here's a pretty interesting rumor, and one we definitely want to be true. But according to Android Police's sources, that Google is beginning to force OEMs to use a recent version of Android to get their device approved and get Google's apps on board. Looking at the table that Android Police put together, you can see that the GMS Approval Window was open until February 1st for anything from Android 2.3 to 4.1. With Android 4.2's window closing on April 24th, and Android 4.3 on July 31st.
What exactly does this mean? Well as of now, if this information is correct, manufacturers can no longer submit devices for GMS approval to Google unless they are running Android 4.2 or above. So basically, anything running Android 4.1 or lower will not have Google services and apps on board, similar to the Kindle Fire line of tablets from Amazon.
In the alleged memo that was sent to OEMs from the Android team, that was tipped to Android Police, they stated: "Starting February 2014, Google will no longer approve GMS distribution on new Android products that ship older platform releases. Each platform release will have a "GMS approval window" that typically closes nine months after the next Android platform release is publicly available. (In other words, we all have nine months to get new products on the latest platform after its public release.)"
Basically what this means is that starting this month, an Android manufacturer will be unable to certify a device that's more than 2 versions old. Which I'd like to see down to just one version behind, but 2 is still better than what it was. Android Police also notes here that these are about the GMS Approval process, and not hardware release dates. For example, if a device gets approved on April 23rd with Android 4.2, it may not be released until the end of this year which is actually quite normal for these things.
This is a good move by Google, if it does turn out to be true. It could really help them in fighting fragmentation, which is a great thing.