After “a whirlwind trip to Asia” visiting Android partners, Google’s SVP Sundar Pichai has just confirmed — by way of the above photo — that the next version of his mobile OS is called KitKat aka Android 4.4. The exec shared this geeky nugget on both Google+ and Twitter, while his company has updated the Android developer site with a page chronicling Android’s milestones so far. Details are light at the moment, and Google teases its upcoming release with just the following line:
“It’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.”
Pichai also announced that there are now over one billion Android device activations, surpassing the 900 million mark back in May this year. This is well ahead of the end-of-year target that Chairman Eric Schmidt predicted back in April. Just to recap, here are all the previous dessert-based names that contributed to these figures: Cupcake (1.5), Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0), Froyo (2.2), Gingerbread (2.3), Honeycomb (3.0), Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), and Jelly Bean (4.1-4.3). Naturally, it’s “K” after “J” now. More after the break (pun intended).
Update: We’ve added Nestle’s wacky promo video as well.
Update 2: Go ahead and grab the kids, because you’ll now find a short clip of the KitKat statue’s unveiling. So… is anyone gonna break off a piece of that, or what?
Trademark issues? Not to worry, as Google got Nestle’s blessing to use the “Kit Kat” trademark (albeit without the space), but with a twist. John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, explained to the BBC that “this is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal,” but instead, they wanted do something “fun and unexpected.”
Following one conference call with Nestle back in end of November, the deal was sealed just 24 hours later. And after finalising the details secretly at MWC, the chocolate snack is now doing a joint promotion with Google to give away some Nexus 7s and Google Play credit in the US and the UK. The BBC reports that there will be more than 50 million Kit Kats promoting the Android mascot in 19 markets (including Brazil, India, Japan and Russia), but it’s not clear whether the giveaway promotion will make its way to those countries as well.
Lagerling also confirmed that his team did originally consider “Key Lime Pie” as a potential name for Android after Jelly Bean, but the issue was “very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie.” Fair enough. Until Google drops another Android activation number on us, feel free to make a guess on what’s coming after KitKat. Hint: it begins with an “L.”