Google taking Android mainstream with KitKat

Summary:Google has been using desserts as codenames for major Android versions since the beginning. In a surprise move, Google has teamed with the KitKat candy bar for the next version.

KitKat Android
Image credit: Nestle

Amidst all the fury following the announcement of the Microsoft/Nokia deal, Google quietly shook up the Android space with the unveiling of its affiliation with the KitKat candy bar. While Key Lime Pie was long expected to be the next major version of Android (4.4), ZDNet's Rachel King reports that it will now be known as KitKat.

KitKat is a popular candy bar in the US and more importantly is well-known and iconic. Everyone recognizes the KitKat and Google is positioning Android to benefit from that recognition. While no money changed hands according to Google, a new promotional video from the KitKat people (Nestle) makes it plain that Android is going to be quietly pushed in advertising for the candy.

The clever video pushes the candy bar as a very high-tech product (KitKat 4.4) designed to meet customer's needs and desires. It's not a coincidence that the candy bar's version number, 4.4, also happens to be the Android version it represents. It is brilliantly done and seems to take a shot at Apple while quietly promoting Android. There is even an Android tablet shown in the production.

This collaboration between Google and Nestle with the KitKat brand positions the former to put the Android brand front and center with mainstream consumers. That's not been done before as phone partner branding is usually the OEM brand only. There have been phone launch events recently that don't even mention Android, and Google must have been concerned about that.

Don't be surprised to see more KitKat promotional materials that quietly push Android to the non-tech world. It's already started with both the video mentioned above and the special packages of KitKat bars that have Willy Wonka-style tickets inside to give Nexus 7 tablets to lucky recipients. It's clear Google is taking the Android brand mainstream with the KitKat affiliation.

As clever as this partnership with KitKat may be, some folks are not happy that Key Lime Pie was dropped in favor of KitKat. Twitter folk were buzzing about the name switch, including Bridget Carey and Tim Stevens of CNET:

KitKat Twitter

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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