Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

KitKat Is Next: 1B Activations Later, Android Opts for a Branded Treat

The next version of Android will be called KitKat, and will feature a first-of-its-kind promotion with the chocolate bar.

AndroidKitKatGoogle’s Sundar Pichai let the naming news slip in a coy tweet today, and Google has posted an official KitKat landing page to confirm.

Pichai also said there are now more than one billion activated Android devices in the world, an expected but significant milestone.

What will Android version 4.4 (that’s why they opt for the cute dessert monikers) contain? Google’s landing page hinted at greater accessibility for the world’s biggest phone operating system. “It’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.”

And, in a new twist, the name for the phone upgrade is also a promotional campaign. Branded KitKat bars with labels showing an Android robot mascot chomping down on the candy are set to offer the chance to win a Nexus 7 tablet or Google Play credit.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.13.04 AMKitKat is owned by Nestle and made by Hershey’s in the United States. A spokeswoman for Google said the company came up with the idea for the tie-in, and approached the candymaker.

That hadn’t been an option with previous Android versions, which were named after generic sweet treats: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean.

Google has made a custom of mounting large statues of each namesake in front of the Android team’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

The BBC reports that, in part to preserve the surprise, some at Google had actually used a different code name, Key Lime Pie, internally and with partners.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik