Android: The latest version of Android, Oreo, was released in August, and brought with it a host of new features that made Android more user-friendly. It also bundled services that made it easier for hardware manufacturers to update their own device's software. Unfortunately, buying a brand new phone today doesn't guarantee you'll get access to the latest operating system, and could result in you being stuck with last year's version of Android for quite some time.
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According to The Verge, brand-new Android smartphones are still shipping with old versions of Android. Even upcoming smartphones - devices that haven't even hit store shelves - are still running last year's version of Android. That makes buying a phone like the upcoming OnePlus 5T (running Android 7.0 Nougat) or the new HTC U11 Plus (paired with the more recent Android 8.0 Oreo) a potentially limiting experience if you're not sure which operating system you'll be stuck with.
Before you make a purchasing decision, you should do your research and check your potential smartphone's specifications. If you're browsing on the web, look for a link or tab next to a device's list of features containing its specifications, or check the manufacturer's site for more detailed information. All you're looking for in this instance is the operating system running on your phone.
When searching for a new phone, you should narrow your choice down to devices running the latest version of Android - in this case, Android 8.0 Oreo. Of course, you might not have much say in the matter if your new Android smartphone is a gift from a friend or family member. Still want to know how new your smartphone's operating system is? You can check your software version by visiting the Settings app, scrolling down to System, and selecting "About Phone". Here's a fun Easter egg: When you're on the About Phone page, hit the "Android version" box a few times to see a cool animation.