After "a whirlwind trip to Asia" visiting Android partners, Google's SVP Sundar Pichai has just confirmed -- by way of the above photo -- that the next version of his mobile OS is called KitKat aka Android 4.4. The exec shared this geeky nugget on both Google+ and Twitter, while his company has updated the Android developer site with a page chronicling Android's milestones so far. Details are light at the moment, and Google teases its upcoming release with just the following line:
"It's our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody."
Pichai also announced that there are now over one billion Android device activations, surpassing the 900 million mark back in May this year. This is well ahead of the end-of-year target that Chairman Eric Schmidt predicted back in April. Just to recap, here are all the previous dessert-based names that contributed to these figures: Cupcake (1.5), Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0), Froyo (2.2), Gingerbread (2.3), Honeycomb (3.0), Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), and Jelly Bean (4.1-4.3). Naturally, it's "K" after "J" now. More after the break (pun intended).
Update: We've added Nestle's wacky promo video as well.
Update 2: Go ahead and grab the kids, because you'll now find a short clip of the KitKat statue's unveiling. So... is anyone gonna break off a piece of that, or what?
Trademark issues? Not to worry, as Google got Nestle's blessing to use the "Kit Kat" trademark (albeit without the space), but with a twist. John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, explained to the BBC that "this is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal," but instead, they wanted do something "fun and unexpected."
Following one conference call with Nestle back in end of November, the deal was sealed just 24 hours later. And after finalising the details secretly at MWC, the chocolate snack is now doing a joint promotion with Google to give away some Nexus 7s and Google Play credit in the US and the UK. The BBC reports that there will be more than 50 million Kit Kats promoting the Android mascot in 19 markets (including Brazil, India, Japan and Russia), but it's not clear whether the giveaway promotion will make its way to those countries as well.
Lagerling also confirmed that his team did originally consider "Key Lime Pie" as a potential name for Android after Jelly Bean, but the issue was "very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie." Fair enough. Until Google drops another Android activation number on us, feel free to make a guess on what's coming after KitKat. Hint: it begins with an "L."
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Google and Nestlé announce Android KitKat
Sep 3, 2013
Google has ended months of online speculation about the name of the latest version of its Android mobile operating system by revealing it will be called 'Android KitKat', after Nestlé's popular chocolate and wafer confectionery.
The creators of the world's most popular mobile platform have teamed up with the world's biggest food and beverage company to name the next release of the platform 'Android KitKat'.
Android has been developed by the company's engineers under sweet-themed names ever since the release of Android Cupcake in 2009 and continuing in alphabetical order until the most recent version, Android Jelly Bean.
The news that the letter 'K' will be dedicated to Nestlé's KitKat will surprise most technology commentators, who had widely thought the latest version would be 'Android Key Lime Pie'.
"We couldn't imagine a better name for our Android K release than the tasty chocolate that's been a favourite among the team since the early days of Android," said Marc Vanlerberghe, Director of Android Marketing.
Strong digital presence
"We're excited to announce this partnership with Android, the world's most popular mobile platform, which will help us to enable even more KitKat fans to enjoy their break," said Patrice Bula, Nestlé's Head of Marketing.
"KitKat is one of the world's top ten fast-moving consumer goods brands in social media in terms of fan numbers and engagement," he continued. "We continue to build on its strong digital presence with interactive, creative branding campaigns."
To mark the release of Android KitKat, more than 50 million specially branded KitKat bars will be available in 19 countries including Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Dubai, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The packs will lead consumers to the website android.com/kitkat where they will have the opportunity to win prizes including a limited number of Google Nexus 7 tablets, and credits to spend in Google Play, Google's online store for apps, games, music, movies, books and more.
A small number of Android robot-shaped KitKat bars will also be offered as prizes in selected markets.
Closer to consumers
Nestlé's branding partnership with Google is the company's latest move in its ambition to leverage digital technology and online content to get closer to its consumers to better understand and cater to their preferences.
Earlier this year, Nestlé acquired its first-ever piece of online content property, the Petfinder website in the United States. The online database, which links prospective adopters with adoptable pets, is visited by more than 100 million pet-lovers annually.