Skip to main content

Google sells out, names next version of Android ‘KitKat’

google sells out android kitkat

In a move that would make even MC Hammer cringe, Google today unveiled the latest dessert-themed name for its next version of Android (version 4.4). What’s it called? Android KitKat. Yep, Google has sold out the code name to its next operating system, once thought to be called Android ‘Key Lime Pie.’ The new version of Android, which now has a mascot made of KitKat bars, was announced on, with several links to Nestle’s KitKat website and a sponsorship promotion giving people the chance to win a Nexus 7 if they buy a bunch of KitKats. … Yay?

Previous versions of Android have been code-named Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean.

KitKats taste great, but this is a sad move. Google executives claim that no money exchanged hands, but this is a clear ploy to force fans and media websites to write and say “Android KitKat” every time they mention the next version of Google’s OS. Nestle, for its part, plans to milk the hell out of this promotion. It will sell 50 million Android-branded KitKats in 19 countries around the world, including the UK, US, India, Brazil, Russia, and Japan.

Google has gotten a lot of praise for making Android an open-source project, but it’s hard not to be a little let down if it’s now willing to sell out the name of its operating systems. What’s next? Will new Nexus 7 devices come in “Hershey’s” Brown? Maybe there will be an educational version of the Nexus called the Lexis Nexus? What isn’t up for sale at Google?

Executives at Google have kept the KitKat name a secret since Mobile World Congress this year, lying about the name of Android 4.4 to keep the element of “surprise” intact. 

“We kept calling the name Key Lime Pie internally and even when we referred to it with partners,” said John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, to the BBC. “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.”

Google has given no hints to the features of the next version of Android, though its number (4.4) indicates that it will probably be an incremental release. On the announcement page, Google says that the “goal with Android KitKat is to make an amazing Android experience available to everybody.” This could mean better support for small-screened or inexpensive devices.

Devoted fans of the KitKat, it looks like you’ll have to switch to Android to fully support your favorite crackered snack. Everyone else, do you think this is a fun move or a dumb ploy?

Editors' Recommendations

Jeffrey Van Camp
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Deputy Editor, Jeff helps oversee editorial operations at Digital Trends. Previously, he ran the site's…
Meizu’s MX4 brings KitKat, an octa-core, and a massive display to the table for $300
Meizu MX4

If there's one thing to take away from Google's current incarnation of the Nexus program, as well as the OnePlus One, it's that it's no longer impossible to pack powerful hardware in a package that won't break the bank. Meizu looks to continue that trend by announcing the MX4, which brings an octa-core processor and a Full HD display to the table.

Related: Wow, Xiaomi's new Android UI is almost indistinguishable from iOS 7

Read more
Android 4.4 KitKat: Asus releases KitKat for the PadFone Infinity, and FonePad Note 6 (Updated)
android 4 kitkat phone list kit kat

Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat in late 2013, and while we know it made its debut on the Nexus 5, its arrival on other smartphones is as always, up in the air. Information has been coming through from various sources since its release, so we've combined all the official announcements, along with any less formal news we’ve heard, to make sure you know when Android 4.4 KitKat is headed to your device.

Updated on 08-13-2014 by Andy Boxall: Asus has joined in the Android 4.4 update fun, announcing the new software for two of its devices.
Asus PadFone Infinity and FonePad Note 6 Updated
Asus has announced an Android 4.4 KitKat update for two of its devices, the PadFone Infinity (A80), and the FonePad Note 6. They both join the previously released update for the PadFone 2. The update not only brings the new version of Android, but also adds Asus' refreshed ZenUI, fixes a few bugs, and unusually, removes some of the pre-installed apps.

Read more
Android KitKat finds its way into more devices, but Jelly Bean still reigns supreme
android kitkat marketshare mid 2014

Another month, another graph showing us detailed Android platform distribution stats. Google releases these graphs each month in order for developers to better understand the current state of Android. Released yesterday, the latest Android version distribution stats show the latest Android 4.4 KitKat making great strides, though Jelly Bean still reigns supreme.
While last month's stats had KitKat at 8.5 percent, it's now at 13.6 percent. Considering the latest major update sat at 5.3 percent just two months ago, it's making considerable headway. That headway comes at the expense of Jelly Bean, which is still in the majority of Android handsets in the wild (58.4 percent versus 60.8 percent last month), Ice Cream Sandwich (12.3 percent versus 13.4 percent last month), and Gingerbread (14.9 percent versus 16.2 percent last month).
While Gingerbread's resilience is troubling, Honeycomb is no longer part of the list. With only 0.8 percent, Froyo looks to be following Honeycomb's footsteps very soon, and with manufacturers shipping smartphones with KitKat preinstalled, we should expect KitKat to continue to rise the ranks. KitKat's rise comes as Android 4.4.3 KitKat is rolling out to Nexus and Google Play edition devices. In addition, it is rumored that we will see the next major Android upgrade at Google I/O at the end of the month, so we might see it as a new entrant sooner than later.

Read more