In 2009, Google unveiled Android 1.5 Cupcake. It was an important update to the fledgling operating system as it introduced an on-screen keyboard, but it was also the first version update to use a dessert-themed naming scheme. Cupcake led to Donut, and after a few updates, to Android 9 Pie in 2018. Now, 10 years later, Google is retiring the sugary names for its Android version updates starting with Android 10 Q, which will now be called Android 10.
Google’s reasoning? The dessert-themed names didn’t translate well to global audiences.
“L and R are not distinguishable when spoken in some languages,” the company said in a blog post. “So when some people heard us say Android Lollipop out loud, it wasn’t intuitively clear that it referred to the version after KitKat. It’s even harder for new Android users, who are unfamiliar with the naming convention, to understand if their phone is running the latest version. We also know that pies are not a dessert in some places and that marshmallows, while delicious, are not a popular treat in many places in the world.”
Here’s what the official Android 10 branding will look like:
The new naming scheme is simple and easy to understand, though not as fun. It’s more like Apple’s iOS, which goes up in numerical value every year (last year was iOS 12 and this year it’s iOS 13). But with Android, the dessert theme isn’t all that’s changing.
Google already gave the Android wordmark a makeover back in 2014 over the original, but 5 years later it’s time to shake things up again. The wordmark itself has slimmed down from the 2014 variant, but it’s now black instead of green. Bugdroid, the iconic Android robot, has been incorporated into the logo as well — or at least, just its head.
Google has also changed Bugdroid’s color, and there’s a good explanation for it.
“It’s a small change, but we found the green was hard to read, especially for people with visual impairments,” according to the blog post. “The logo and brand identity are often paired with colors that can make it hard to see — so we came up with a new set of color combinations that improve contrast.”
That’s where the new color palette comes in. You won’t see the new Android logo and Bugdroid in just the updated green color, but the following blue, navy, orange, chartreuse, and other alternatives. Android manufacturers can use these varying color choices to their liking not just in product packaging, but also in marketing materials.
Google said the new branding will go into effect as Android 10’s official launch draws near. Historically, the latest version of Android has arrived in the last week of August. If you want to know what’s coming in the upcoming version, check out our in-depth guide.
Perhaps all of this is a ploy to disguise the fact that Google couldn’t come up with a likable Q-named dessert — it hasn’t shared any contenders, after all. Sadly, we just may never know.
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