“Android KitKat” name for next version of Google’s Mobile OS and Story Behind

Android 4.4 KitKat
Android 4.4 KitKat

Google has chosen the “Android KitKat” as a name for the next version of its mobile operating system. The KitKat page on the Android website has been up revealing to be the next codename for Android 4.4. It was supposed to be the Android 5.0 code named as “Key Lime Pie” before.

The real surprise

Well that was a real surprise when we first heard about, thinking how could Google do that as the “KitKat” is already a trademark of Swiss multinational food and beverage company Nestle. But the story also reveals that its a cooperation by both of the companies.

The most sweet factor of the delicious collaboration is that there is no money-exchange involved. Rather the deal is based only on fun things to do with shaking hands between two different kind of firms. Google (a mobile operating system creator) on one side and Nestle (a food and beverage company) on the other. BBC writes

“This is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal,” John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, told the BBC.

Instead, he said, the idea was to do something “fun and unexpected”.

There may be fun in such a collaboration but one thing in a partnership a business seeks for is the profit. But profit doesn’t come without loss at some places. Two companies’ reputation affects each other’s in a positive way (if it’s good) or a negative way (if it’s bad.)

“If your brand is hooked up with another, you inevitably become associated with that other brand, for good or ill,” said Simon Myers, a partner at the consultancy Prophet.

“If that brand or business has some reputational issues that emerge, it would be naive to think as a brand owner that your good name, your brand equity, would not be affected.”

They did it in just one hour to go with it

The marketing chief at Nestle said that they decided within an hour to say let’s do it while knowing the risks and saying it in a real funny mood.

If the new OS proved to be crash-prone or particularly vulnerable to malware it could cause collateral damage to KitKat’s brand.

“Maybe I’ll be fired,” he joked.

What’s the “Key Lime Pie” then?

The codename for the next big release of Android version was supposed to be the “Key Lime Pie” until now. It was also referred in the internal documents. Unlike Nestle, they did it in just an hour, Google has been thinking over it since the late last year before reaching out to Nestle for the idea. Simply the “KitKat” took over “Key Lime Pie”.

KitKat is the 9th in the row of Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and the most recent Jelly Bean.

Story Behind

The second obvious thing of the news (being a surprise first) was the factor how both the companies kept it secret for such a long time. Nestle’s marketing chief credits it to Google.

There is the plan of 50 million specially branded chocolate bars with the Android mascot to be delivered to 19 markets worldwide including the UK, US, Brazil, India, Japan and Russia. After a successful secret deal, Nestle has already started the production two months ago.

Read the short story in just the way BBC wrote it

Executives from the two firms met face to face at a secret event held at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February to finalise the details.

To promote the alliance, Nestle now plans to deliver more than 50 million chocolate bars featuring the Android mascot to shops in 19 markets, including the UK, US, Brazil, India, Japan and Russia.

The packaging had to be produced in advance over the past two months. But despite the scale of the operation, the two firms managed to keep the story a secret,

“Keeping it confidential was paramount to Google’s strategy,” acknowledges Mr Bula. “Absolutely nothing leaked.”

The Android team also took steps to preserve the element of surprise, notifying only a “tight team” about the decision.

“We kept calling the name Key Lime Pie internally and even when we referred to it with partners,” revealed Mr Lagerling.

“If we had said, ‘The K release is, by the way, secret’, then people would have racked their minds trying to work out what it was going to be.”

Most Google employees will have learned of the news only when a statue of the Android mascot made out of KitKats was unveiled at the firm’s Mountain View, California, campus.

“A lot of things, especially in tech nowadays, become public before they are officially supposed to be,” said Mr Lagerling.

“I think it’s going to a big surprise for a lot of people, including Googlers.”

The name “KitKat” for the next Android version could be sweet for many of you out there. But for me the surprise itself is more delicious how Google and Nestle kept it a secret. Welldone! and best of luck for the next break!

source: BBC, Android, KITKAT

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