Google announces Android 4.4 KitKat!

Android-4.4-Kit-Kat-Teaser-002

Whoa, it’s indeed been a crazy news day. First we learned that Microsoft is buying Nokia’s devices division for north of $7 billion, then Apple came official with its iPhone event and now – just minutes after Apple’s September 10 keynote confirmation – came word straight from the Internet giant Google that the next version of Android is going to be called KitKat.

Way to go to steal Apple’s thunder, Google! I’m not kidding: the KitKat Google+ page just went live making the code-name official.

On top of this, the brown chocolate-like statue has joined the crew outside Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters. Plus, the Android 4.4 web page is now live, too. Is the use of the KitKat name meant to suggest Google will now “take a break” from innovation? Go past the fold for the full reveal…

Android’s recently-minted head Sundar Pichai made the Android 4.4 announcement on Twitter, also boasting that Google has activated one billion Android devices to date.

The promo graphics for the new version lays out the company’s goal with Android 4.4 KitKat: to make “an amazing Android experience available for everybody”.

I’ve consulted resident Google kremlinologists who’ve deciphered this as a sign of Android 4.4 perhaps being optimized for lower-cost phones that are currently fueling tremendous growth in the emerging markets, where Android rules the landscape.

Android-4.4-Kit-Kat-Teaser-001

The official Android web page offers the explanation of Google’s naming scheme:

Android is the operating system that powers over 1 billion smartphones and tablets. Since these devices make our lives so sweet, each Android version is named after a dessert: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean.

As everybody finds it difficult to stay away from chocolate we decided to name the next version of Android after one of our favorite chocolate treats, Kitkat®!

Sweet!

Pinchai’s Google+ post notes that the bar is “one of our team’s favorites”. Does that mean Google paid a sum to Nestlé for the rights to use the KitKat name in association with its mobile operating system?

I’d reckon they cut a deal – otherwise this would file as a trademark infringement – with The Hershey Company which makes the famous wafer biscuit bar in the United States under license.

Android’s Google+ post throws light on the matter:

KitKat has been a favorite candy on the team for some time, so for the KitKat release, we asked if they’d be willing to lend their iconic candy bar to its name.

Note that Android 4.4 is named KitKat while the chocolate bar’s name is spelled out as Kit Kat. Anyways, Google stopped short of providing more details about Android 4.4′s availability, but you can sign up for email alerts when they launch the release.

Jokers as they are, Google even put in the ‘Learn More About KitKat’ link which leads straight to the chocolate maker’s mini web-site where they host a promotion with the chance to win a free Nexus 7 2013 or Google Play Store credit.

BBC News has the full story of how the tie-up happened. Apparently neither party paid each other for such un unusual yet admittedly mutually beneficial cross-promotion.

Oh, and Amazon has announced a new Kindle Paperwhite, shipping in October.

Not bad for a Tuesday, huh?

So, what’s your preference: a KitKat or those nice colors?

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