What is the earliest version that's still reasonably functional today?

eggsalad

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For a friend who's not well off, still using a Samsung Fascinate on 2.3.4. That OS isn't what I'd call functional. So for someone who wants to spend the bare minimum on a new phone, what version is functional? Lollipop? Marshmallow?

Thanks
 
Unless you throw out a budget the answers will be all over the place.
 
Budget is literally under $25. I should have included that.
 
New Android under $25. You're most likely SOL unless there's a sale. $50 & under you could get a new Android with either Android Pie (9) or rarely but unlikely 10 the current version. And even at $50 & under it's very likely tied to a specific carrier & certainly tied to a specific network. There are rarities & snap sales but you got to be on them.

What carrier/network will work for your friend?
 
For a friend who's not well off, still using a Samsung Fascinate on 2.3.4. That OS isn't what I'd call functional. So for someone who wants to spend the bare minimum on a new phone, what version is functional? Lollipop? Marshmallow?

Thanks

Lollipop and Marshmallow are both more then functional on any $25 phone. I have a Moto G (a 3G phone) on Lollipop with the same apps as on an LG K4 (4G/LTE VoLTE) running Marshmallow and a Moto E4 (4G/LTE VoLTE) running Nougat. All getting app updates. I'm sure there's some specialty apps out there you'd need more then Lollipop but not for general use. Even KitKat on an LG Fuel I had was getting by fine. For general use having the latest and greatest OS is way over blown. All boils down to what apps you think you need. My K4 is a $25 phone, factory refurb on Ebay. And got my E4 at Walmart closeout, brand new sealed box factory unlocked version for $30.
They're out there but as mentioned likely rare if you want a factory unlocked one like I was lucky to find or a network tied brand new one.
Other then my E4 mine were always refurbs, lasted many years, never an issue.
 
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Thanks, folks. I've found an unlocked Kyocera Hydro Air running Lollipop on eBay for $18.50. I think it will do.
 
Thanks, folks. I've found an unlocked Kyocera Hydro Air running Lollipop on eBay for $18.50. I think it will do.

Great as long as it has the specs you need and you did your due diligence on the item and seller on Ebay (clear IMEI and all). I see that phone is GSM based for ATT or maybe TM so I assume that's the network you want.
Also, I'm not familiar with how Kyocera's do OS updates or how long they provide them but maybe it'll upgrade to Marshmallow.
 
I can not remember the name of ATT kyocera that I had that was prepaid but it had a bad overheating problem. The phones that came with that generation of processors that year all had overheating problems. I may have been the Air or the one after the Air that ATT was selling. It was the only phone that I had used that would keep overheating no apparent reason. It made me scared of kyocera phones from that point on. I wanted to get the Duraforce before using that prepaid phone.
 
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