Google readies Android 'KitKat' amid 1 billion device activations milestone

Summary:Chocolate is nice and all, we all want to know more about how Google will have mobile users salivating for the next installment.

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Google has reached into the candy jar once again for the latest moniker of its Android mobile operating system.

In a surprise move amid the start of the annual consumer tech trade show IFA in Berlin this week, Google's SVP of Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai touted in a Google+ post on Tuesday that there have been more than one billion activations of Android-based devices worldwide. That's both smartphones and tablets.

Following that milestone and nary a peep at Google I/O in June, it's safe to say that a new version of Android is in order.

Following the firmly set patterns of matching up sweets with the alphabet, Android 4.4 has been officially dubbed as "KitKat."

Given that the American chocolate bar brand is owned by Hershey's, it was quickly questioned as to how and why Google went in this direction. (Clarification: The brand KitKat is owned by Nestle worldwide, but the name is licensed for use and manufactured by Hershey's in the United States.)

Previous Android OS iterations have been referred to by more generic dessert terms, including Cupcake, Eclair, and Donut. (There have been a few odd balls, such as Honeycomb and the absurdly long -- in editorial terms -- Ice Cream Sandwich.)

But naturally, there is a partnership (and a Willy Wonka-like promo deal) in place catering to both parties, as confirmed by the Android team in a blog post on Tuesday.

KitKat has been a favorite candy on the team for some time, so for the K release, we asked if they’d be willing to lend their iconic candy bar to its name. Be on the lookout for limited edition Android KitKat bars coming soon to a candy aisle near you. For a lucky few, your KitKat bar might contain a winning ticket for a new Nexus 7 tablet or Google Play credits.

Chocolate is nice and all, we all want to know more about how Google will have mobile users salivating for the next installment when it comes to improved features and functionality.

Unfortunately, beyond a hefty new statue for the lawn in Mountain View alongside a giant Gingerbread man and an Android stuffed with Jelly Beans, we'll all have to wait and see.

That wait could also be awhile considering Google hasn't revealed a timeline as to when KitKat might break. (Terrible pun intended.)

Image via Sundar Pichai/Google+

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones, Tablets, Tech Industry

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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