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Google Names Its Next Android 4.4 OS ‘KitKat’ Instead of ‘Key Lime Pie’

Posted by on October 31, 2013

Google has announced that the next version of Android OS, Android 4.4, will be called ‘KitKat’, not ‘Key Lime Pie’ as was widely rumored. Google Sundar Pichai, head of Android and Chrome operating systems, has confirmed the name in a post on his google+ page.

Android kitkat mascot

The decision to brand the OS version with the name of Nestle’s chocolate bar was seen by some parties as as a marketing coup for the Swiss food and beverage maker.

However Google told the BBC that the decision came from within its company and neither side was paying the other.

“This is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal,“ John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, told the BBC. Instead, he said, the idea was to do something “fun and unexpected“.

A branding expert and marketing consultant warned that there were potential pitfalls to such a deal.

“If your brand is hooked up with another, you inevitably become associated with that other brand, either good or bad,“ said Simon Myers, a partner at the consultancy Prophet.

“If a brand has a reputational issue, then the other brand will be affected as well.“

Good bye ‘Key Lime Pie’ and Welcome ‘Kitkat’

Android has named all its OS versions alphabetically after dessert treats. The previous versions are Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo (Frozen Yoghurt), Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, and Android community believed the next version of Android version would be ‘Key Lime Pie’.

So why is not Key Lime Pie, but the Kitkat?
According Lagerling, the reason for not sticking to Key Lime Pie was because they speculated many did not know the taste.

“We realized that very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie,” he explained. KitKat, however, is a taste well known around he world.

“One of the snacks that we keep in our kitchen for late-night coding are KitKats“. And someone said: “Hey, why don’t we call the release KitKat?“

“We didn’t even know which company controlled the name, and we thought that would be difficult. But then we thought well why not, and we decided to reach out to the Nestle folks.“

Nestle allowed the name change via conference call just 24 hours after the Google decided to make it.

“Very frankly, we decided within an hour to say let’s do it,“ Patrice Bula, Nestle’s marketing chief told the BBC.

To promote the alliance, Nestle will deliver more than 50 million KitKat featuring the Andoid mascot to shops in 19 countries, including US, UK, Brazil, India, Japan, and Russia.

kitkat with android

In keeping with tradition, Google rolled out a statue at its HQ to commemorate the latest version of the OS.

When’s Android KitKat coming?

Google has remained mysterious and has not offered any official word on when the device will be launched, but many speculate that it will launch at early November 2013, instead of October 28 as planned earlier.

Update: The time has come and Google has finally released the Android 4.4 KitKat along with the Nexus 5 smartphone. The update will soon roll out to other Nexus devices, Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. Find out What’s new in Android 4.4 KitKat.