Google Skips Key Lime Pie, Names Next Android Operating System KitKat
September 3, 2013

Google Skips Key Lime Pie, Names Next Operating System KitKat

Michael Harper for – Your Universe Online

Hours after Microsoft announced they were buying Nokia’s cell phone division and Apple announced their next special event, Google followed suit and announced their own big news.

The next version of Android, version 4.4, will be called Android KitKat. Google reportedly signed a deal to use the Hershey-owned property earlier this year at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. The news comes as a surprise to those who had expected the next version of Android to bear a different “K” name; many were looking for Google to go with Key Lime Pie.

Android chief Sundar Pichai broke the news on Google+ and Twitter this afternoon with a Tweet that read “We now have over 1 billion Android activations and hope this guy in front of the building keeps that momentum going.”

The attached picture to his post shows the newest Android robot posed outside the Google headquarters, those four iconic KitKat sections standing next to the gingerbread and jellybean statues of operating systems past. Google has kept with the tradition of naming their Android system after sweet treats, such as Cupcake, Eclair, Ice Cream Sandwich and most recently, Jelly Bean.

When asked why they went with a trademarked named as opposed to a more generic name as they’ve done in the past, John Lagerling, Android’s director of global partnerships, said: “We realized that very few people actually know the taste of a Key lime pie.”

"One of the snacks that we keep in our kitchen for late-night coding are KitKats. And someone said: 'Hey, why don't we call the release KitKat?'”

The flavor of Hershey’s brand KitKats, said Lagerling, is more familiar with the general public, exactly the audience Google wants to reach.

The deal to name Android 4.4 after a popular chocolate bar goes beyond Google getting permission to use the name of candy for a package of zeroes and ones. Upcoming packages of KitKat candy bars will present consumers an opportunity to win a Nexus 7 tablet or Google Play credit, good for apps, music and more in Google’s digital store. Nestle, owner of Hershey’s and KitKat, said they’ll be shipping 50 million of the Android-branded KitKat bars in 19 different countries. Though the deal had been previous discussed between Pichar and Hershey officials, the deal wasn’t finalized until this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.

"We didn't even know which company controlled the name, and we thought that [the choice] would be difficult. But then we thought well why not, and we decided to reach out to the Nestle folks,” explained Mr. Lagerling in an interview with the BBC.

According to Nestle’s marketing chief, the candy team decided they were ready to embark on the partnership within an hour of hearing about the opportunity.

Android has often been teased by Windows Phone and iOS fans about fragmentation issues, or their proclivity to have several versions of their OS floating around on several different devices. Commenters on The Verge and other websites were quick to make the joke about Android’s fragmentation and the four fingers of the KitKat bar.

In his interview with the BBC, Mr. Patric Bula, Nestle’s head of marketing, mentioned that these kinds of risks are necessary when inking a new partnership with another company.

"When you try to lead a new way of communicating and profiling a brand you always have a higher risk than doing something much more traditional."

"You can go round the swimming pool 10 times wondering if the water is cold or hot or you say: 'Let's jump.'"