Android named the next version of its popular mobile OS KitKat, after the chocolate bar. The next version of Android will be called KitKat after the Nestle chocolate bar, and not "Key Lime Pie," as was predicted for months, Google said Tuesday.
The news was an unexpected twist to many Android fans, who had expected the next big release would be numbered Android 5.0 and would be called "Key Lime Pie," in keeping with Google's pattern of picking an Android update named after a sweet treat, starting with the next letter in the alphabet.
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Google's Android website says the next version will be Android 4.4, called KitKat, with no mention of when it will be released or what it will include. Google had not officially ever called the next version "Key Lime Pie," although it had used "KLP" in some written materials.
"Google didn't actually tell us much of anything today," wrote Computerworld blogger JR Raphael. "We got a name and a number -- and that's it."
Previous versions have been called "Cupcake" (Android 1.5), "Donut" (1.6), "Eclair" (2.0), "Froyo," short for "frozen yogurt," (2.2), "Gingerbread" (2.3), "Honeycomb" (3.0), "Ice Cream Sandwich" (4.0), and "Jelly Bean" (4.1).
Google has also erected an Android KitKat statue on its corporate lawn, pictured in a short Google Plus post by Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Chrome and Apps.
"Love the new #AndroidKitKat statue and can't wait to release the next version of the platform that is sweet as the candy bar that's one of our team's favorites J," Pichai wrote.
Separately in Google Plus, Google said to watch for tickets to win a Nexus 7 tablet inside a limited edition of Android Kit Kat bars. Nestle uses a space between the words Kit and Kat for the chocolate bar, according to its website, but Android will run the two words together as one: KitKat, according to Google.
Why so much coverage and concern over a name for a smartphone and tablet operating system? Probably because Android now controls nearly 80 percent of the smartphone market and half of the tablet market, according to IDC and Gartner. That means Android already powers more than 1 billion smartphones and tablets.
When you're that big, you can choose any name you want, analysts said.
A few analysts couldn't resist poking fun at the name. "Now you can call your phone -- here Kitty!" quipped Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.
KitKat is apparently a better name than some alternatives, even "Key Lime Pie," or KoolAid, KrispyKreme donuts, Kahlua or Klondike, the ice cream bar, Gold said. "Maybe it's not so easy to find a K and this way they get a name brand to co-market with," he said.