Google has a habit of assigning dessert-themed code names to each version of Google Android. We’ve seen Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean.

So next up is K… and while folks have been speculating that the next version of Android would be code named Key Lime Pie for ages, it looks like the team went for something a bit darker.

Say hello to Android Kit Kat.

Google Android Kit Kat

Sundar Pichai is the head of Google’s Android and Chrome OS teams, and he posted a picture of the latest statue outside Android HQ.

What does this actually tell us about Google’s next version of Android? Nothing at all. While it’d be nice to imagine that there’s some clue here about being able to break off a piece, the code-names don’t often have much to do with the product that’s delivered.

That said, it is interesting that Google is even acknowledging the existence of Android 4.4.

The last few Android updates have been relatively minor, so Google stuck with “Jelly Bean” when updating from Android 4.1 to versions 4.2 and 4.3. The move to a new code-name suggests there could be some big changes in store.

At the same time, Google has been taking steps to push new features and performance updates to Android users without relying on major operating system updates.

Google currently relies on carrier and hardware partners to actually send updates to most phones, while the easiest way to ensure that users have software that’s up to date is to send it out directly. Google can do that with a number of core Android apps by offering them as standalone apps which you can download from the Play Store. The Gmail app, Google Maps, and even the Android keyboard can be kept up to date this way.

The company also now includes software called Google Play Service on most Android devices. This is a system app which can download updates automatically to add new features such as support for Google Play Games.

Since Google can update much of the software on Android phones without pushing out an entirely new version of Android, it’ll be interesting to see what new features the company stuffs into Kit Kat, which will likely be the next version of Android the company does try to release the old fashioned way.

Oh, and if you’re wondering if Google got approval from Nestle, makers of Kit Kat bars before choosing the new name, the answer is yes. In fact, the two companies are now running a promotion together giving Kit Kat candy bar buyers a chance to win a Nexus 7 tablet or credit for purchases from the Google Play Store.

via Droid Life

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11 replies on “Android 4.4 Kit Kat is on the way (so much for Key Lime Pie)”

  1. The name change is a definite surprise for me. Kit Kat (or Android KK) should prove much easier for non-English speakers than Key Lime Pie. That is a major plus that shouldn’t be overlooked.

    I’m certainly not the biggest fan, however, of naming an open-source operating system after a brand name candy bar… but it’ll be interesting to see how Google balances it out.

    The free publicity for Nestle has the potential to set a new standard in advertising (as KK is likely to get hundreds of millions of users).

    Google clearly didn’t have a lot of options choosing a dessert beginning with the letter K.

    In short, Kit Kat may be a far superior name to Key Lime Pie (outside of the U.S.).

  2. I’m hoping for a game changer – and it better not look anything like that butt-ugly iOS 7!

  3. better be certain apple doesn’t think they invented the kit-kat or there will be another frivolous lawsuit ahead

    1. You seriously think that Apple doesn’t have a case, being that the iPhone came out a full year ahead of Android, and Schmidt was on the Apple board and was given a privy look at the iPhone in development? So, that’s all just coincidence, huh? Prior to that point, Android was aiming to be like Blackberry… All this coming from a guy that’s NOT and Apple fanboy.

      1. From what I have read about it, it was over the phone being similar in shape to the iPhone. I believe the same is true over the iPad, the Samsung had a similar shape to the iPad. Apple’s copywright/patent was rather vague about what they had patented/ copywrighted.

        1. That’s Apple’s beef with Samsung. Apple’s beef with Google led to Jobs declaring it would be his life’s mission to destroy Android because of the theft of IP by Google.

  4. I guess they created a sweet deal for the next version of Android? 🙂 Makes one wonder if the next version will be a brand name or a generic name?

  5. It seems odd they went with a branded product name this time. Kit-Kat hmm? “Break off a piece or pieces.” Maybe we’ll see full native multiwindow support for all applications on large display devices?

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