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

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.


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

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  • quite a milestone

    For an os nobody gave a chance.

    Goes to show that given choice between freedom and security, people prefer freedom.
    • 1,000,000,000 android devices with no licensing revenue... still a loss-leader. Glad Google is spending money so wisely.
      donald duck 313
      • Clueless

        You don't think google makes money from every copy of android? Sorry to be blunt but that makes you f-ing clueless.
        Little Old Man
        • 1,000,000,000 android devices with no licensing revenue...

          Please explain further.
          donald duck 313
          • You're kind of missing the point

            Google actually does make money -- most Android devices ship with the standard Google tools package (Maps, Gmail, browsers, etc) which supposedly costs OEMs around $10. Not a huge price, but given the recent story about how Microsoft only makes $10 per Windows Phone device, maybe not such a bad thing.

            But also, don't forget Google's original reason for launching Android: Search. They didn't necessarily look at Android as a way to get into the smartphone business, but as a way to ensure an open smartphone platform. Before Android, every OS was close-source-proprietary, and if a handful of companies decided to switch their search engines to something non-Google overnight, they'd be locked out of search on mobile. And Google had already noticed that search was migrating to mobile. Sure, Android's making money in many other ways for them today, but that was the original point. And it worked.
          • Android Gives All Parties A Piece of the Pie!

            Except this time it won't be Key Lime Pie and instead will be Kit-kat Android. Apparently Key Lime Pie is not so generic after all and every organization in Florida connected with the name were either threatening a lawsuit or asking Google to pay Big Bucks in licensing fees for using it.

            Which resulted in Google..... being a FREE thinking kind of company made a deal with Hershey and Nestles to use their Kit-Kat Bar for their Android release instead. And that's why Google can still make money off Android even if it isn't directly. They are continually looking for ways to not only benefit users, but sponsors and other partners too.

            Their Adware and other revenue models aren't looking for the fast buck without giving everyone a piece of the pie and I'd say it's working just like you say!!! :DDD

            Whereas Microsoft has always worked like Apple suing New York and in turn getting sued by Apple Records for the use of their name. Microsoft like Apple being both greedy proprietary minded companies never consider the ripples in the pond effect or the long term consequences of their actions. It's all about the almighty dollar and how many they can get of yours before you notice that they've been ripping us all off! ;-P

            btw... Great Comment HazyDave!

            I think people forget Android was actually born before iOS and the only thing MS had was tacked on smart device services and no native touchscreen framework to begin with. Google didn't just wake up one morning and decide to buy Android either. They had been working with Andy Ruben on their MMS and search on mobile as far back as early 2004. He was already integrating not only his original founding principles of "If people (companies) are smart that information (location awareness & personal preferences) start getting aggregated into their products". It's at Andy's prodding that Google had bought Earthview Services now Google Maps! .....and that's why Google isn't just Search anymore or even any one thing including the Mobile and Desktop Ad Revenue Global Leader.

            Give customers what they want and need first and you'll naturally make money in the long run while doing it! it's really all about just good business practices for GREATEST SUCCESS!
          • Best analogy

            Think of years gone by, before cars but when tolls were collected on certain tracks/roads. Now a deaf and blind man strolls up wanting to continue. He still pays the toll but can't see or hear anything so can take nothing from the surroundings.

            The deaf and blind man is adverts on android. Android serves up ads in some way to every user. The advertisers don't get the info about users, they provide the adverts and google decides who sees them. Every advert makes them money when the advertisers pay the advert toll.
            Little Old Man
  • Twix is way down the road then

    After Licorice, M&M, Nougat, Orange Slice, Pez, Quench Gum, Rocky Road, and Starburst. :-)
    • Which Twix would they team up with?

      Right or Left? ROFL
      • Not sure

        I don't know. Marissa Mayer I guess dated Larry Page for a while. Now, it seems that Serge Brin is fooling around in the office, dating a marketing manager.

        Seems like Google is the place to go and hookup lately.
        donald duck 313
        • think before you speak.

          If you don't have a salary with multiple commas I don't think we can criticize google higher ups. Let's pause and take a moment to remember the companies google has crushed.
          Rick Paterala
          • Think before you type...

            I'm sorry (not really) but did you even read the comment you're replying to? The irony of your post subject is as thick as your comment is irrelevant and a waste of words.
            Tommy Steward
  • True believer, much?

    When a true believer comments on something that goes against his or her beliefs, it's generally assumed they'll be dogmatic and one-sided. I salute you for confirming this, and adding some new vitriol to what I've come to expect from true believers of all stripes.
  • KitKat has been a favorite candy on the team for some time

    Sure, just happened to be eating kitkat all this time when they need a K name.
    • finally you accepted Google is your employer

      Well, it is no surprise.
      Ram U
  • One Inaccuracy

    The KitKat name and candy bar are owned by Nestle, Hershey just has a long term license to make them in the US. If buy a KitKat in any other country, worldwide, it says Nestle on it.
  • Pray God...

    ...that Cadbury's isn't far behind!
  • Interesting marketing combo

    This is great marketing for KitKat. For as long as this version is around.
  • Meanwhile... less than 1 year old Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD is still on v4.1.2...with no indication from either Motorola or Verizon when and if v4.2 or v4.3 will ever be released for this phone.

    The likelihood of this phone EVER seeing v4.4 is probably between slim & none.

    Keep up the good work Google. :-(
    • don't worry too much

      there isn't much difference with 4.1 vs 4.3, basically a bigger number you see in the 'about' box. All of the cool updates come through google play services. You just won't get Blutooth LE. Or, next time buy a phone from google and not just blame google for some other companies lack of updates.