The next Android release – y'know the K-one? – used to be referred to as Android Key Lime Pie, but it's just been changed, and given an official version number too. Say hello to Android 4.4 Kit Kat.
Now personally I'm rather partial to a Kit Kat, but I feel a little cheated. Is Google now opening up its mobile OS to corporate sponsorship from the highest bidder?
Android head Sundar Pichai revealed the decision to go with Android 4.4 Kit Kat himself with a post on his Google+ page yesterday, saying the team “can’t wait to release the next version of the platform that is as sweet as the candy bar that’s one of our team’s favorites”.
With Google closing in on one billion Android devices activated in total, and 1.5m new devices switched on per day, clearly it's realised that far from being just an opportunity to come up with a cool name based around a dessert, each new version of Android can also be a branding opportunity all on its own.
And so we have a vaguely Apple-mocking spoof video about the ergonomic design principles behind the Kit Kat, and a dedicated Android Kit Kat landing page that's big on marketing lingo on light on everythign else. Plus, 50 million special Android Kit Kat bars will be made (and sold) to mark the release.
The whole affair speaks volumes about how far Android's image has evolved from what were perceived as vaguely alternative, anti-establishment roots. Today it's a brand name that can stand side by side with Nestle and hold its own in terms of global corporate influence.