Tags: android | kitkat | os | name

Android 'KitKat': OS Name Reflects Google's Sweet Ties (Video)

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 12:20 PM

By Michael Mullins

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"KitKat" is the name of Google's next operating system for its Android smartphones and tablets, reflecting the search giant's unique partnership with Nestlé and Hershey's.

Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who oversees Android, Chrome and Google apps, announced Android's 4.4 update name on Tuesday via Twitter.

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Prior to naming the update after the chocolate-covered wafer, the tech giant was rumored to have considered "Key Lime Pie" as the name of its update, in keeping with naming updates after sweet treats, beginning with the next letter in the alphabet, ComputerWorld.com notes.

Prior Android versions include:
Cupcake (Android 1.5)
Donut (1.6)
Eclair (2.0)
Froyo (2.2) [short for Frozen Yogurt]
Gingerbread (2.3)
Honeycomb (3.0)
Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0)
Jelly Bean (4.1), the predecessor of the Android KitKat.

The Android 1.1 and Android 1.0 updates, which preceded Cupcake in 2008, did not have corresponding treat names.

The decision to name version 4.4 "KitKat" came about last November, when the tech giant approached Nestle and Hershey about partnering. It reportedly took less than an hour for companies to agree to participate in the new Android launch.

In an interview with the BBC, John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, said the agreement was "not a money-changing-hands kind of deal." Rather, the decision to partner with the brands was intended to be "fun and unexpected."

On the surface, the partnership appears to be mutually beneficial. But the agreement could have significant pitfalls, according to one analyst.

"If your brand is hooked up with another, you inevitably become associated with that other brand, for good or ill," Simon Myers, a partner at the consultancy group Prophet, told the BBC. "If that brand or business has some reputational issues that emerge, it would be naive to think as a brand owner that your good name, your brand equity, would not be affected."

Considering that Android reportedly now controls nearly 80 percent of the smartphone market and half of the tablet market, it might be a solid branding gamble.

KitKats are produced and sold in the U.S. by the Pennsylvania-based Hershey Company, while they are manufactured and sold internationally by the Switzerland-based company Nestlé.

The alliance stems from an agreement between Hershey and the former English confectionery business Rowntree Mackintosh, which used to produce KitKats for the European market before Nestlé acquired it in 1988.

As part of the Android-Kit Kat promotional rollout, Hershey's is offering a chance to win Google Nexus 7 Tablets and Google Play credits starting Sept. 6.

For its part, Google has released a satirical video promoting the partnership and its new mobile operating system:

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Related stories:

Android 'Master Key' Security Flaw Affects 900M Google Devices

Google Developing Android Videogame Console: WSJ

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