Google taking Android mainstream with KitKat

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.

TOPICS: Mobility, Android, Google
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

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  • Techies??

    With all due respect to James, I grabbed the headline expecting to hear about run anywhere from mainframe servers to wristwatches and instead got a tasty discussion on how candy bar and pie tie ins could affect marketing. "Mainstream" has different connotations to different people.

    Maybe we should flag these headlines with a grin or something so that dead serious, all business, eat and sleep code and solder folks don't get upset when they don't find Intel processor names or Linux versions embedded in the article.
    • ??

      What headline did you read? Seems pretty clear to me. :-)
      • watches and stuff

        Not entirely sure where TomM got the idea about servers and watches, but I do find your article a bit more obtuse than your usual standard. Having said that, I do feel the urge for a.chocolatey wafer.
    • ?

      are you sure you understand what mainstream means?
  • Awesome, fun, and shrewd all at once

    A lot of fun will likely be had from the tie in.

    I wonder when we'll get "Windows Caramilk" and "OS X Mars Bar"? :)
    • More differentiation

      Windows would go with Malted Milk Balls and Hershey Kisses while Apple would go upscale for the Godiva Dark Chocolates.
      • Fruit & veggies

        Just as apples are healthy, while candy is not, OS X and iOS are healthy for your devices while Windows opens your devices to the tooth decay of hacker intrusion. Windows will use "Snickers" as a version name, while apple will use "banana" and "mango" as version names. Google is making a mistake tying its OS to a tooth-decay product, something more apt for Windows.

        Disclaimer: I like Kit-Kat bars. But I eat only about two or three a year, because no food in the world tastes as good as being healthy feels; and junk food feels good for the few minutes it takes to eat it, while being healthy feels good 24/7.
  • Boycott KitKats and Nestle

    Simple. No more crappy KitKats ever!
  • just stupid.....

    Yes, it will bring a lot of attention, but since when is it wise to tie your brand with a less than $2 item. The truth when you look closely is that Android is rot for your phone, like KitKat is for your teeth, is cheaply made like KitKat, and is only a temporary fulfillment like KitKat is for sweet urges. Bwahaha!!!
    • Don;t get your logic

      Android - FroYo, Jellybean, Donut, ICS, etc... All a few cents or $'s.

      Apple < $1

      Blackberry < $1

      Red Hat < $10

      Take a look at some of the more bizzare ones, amongst this.

  • Gee,I thought...

    I thought we would read about improvements to Android. All we get is a love fest with Nestlé's.
    • Same as

      This really is no different than other mainstream "news" (ex-news) media. Part news, part gossip, part oped or opedutainsip. The news is lost forever...
  • I always thought Kit Kat was a Hershey's product

    Shows what I know...
    Michael Kelly
    • Both

      KitKat is owned by Nestle but licenses to and made by Hershey's in the US.
      • UK

        .. and originated in the UK in 1911 by Rowntree (latterly Rowntree MacIntosh) of York, taken over by Nestle of Switzerland in 1988.

        "In 2010 a new £5 million manufacturing line was opened by Nestlé in York, UK. This will produce more than a billion Kit Kat bars each year" ;-)
  • Diabetics?

    Does this mean I can no longer use Android because it will increase my blood sugar to a dangerous level? Key Lime Pie can be made with reduced sugar. Frankly, I prefer mine tart aside from the health benefits -- or in my case, necessities.

    Oh, well.
  • Not to be outdone....

    Microsoft has also announced affiliation with a candy brand:
  • Break me off a piece

    of that KitKat bar!

    I love the joint KitKat 4.4 idea, that is deliciously clever.

    Now, my sweet tooth is itching for some chocolate and a Nexus 7!
  • Candy bar, my foot...

    ... has nobody ever heard of the many Kit Kat Clubs all over the world?
  • kitkat > key lime pie

    way better name than key lime pie
    cross promo genius