Why Android 4.4 KitKat is a horrible, yet brilliant name

by: Adam KoueiderSeptember 3, 2013

Android 4.4 KitKat

If you hadn’t heard yet, the next version of Android will be called Android 4.4 KitKat, despite the name Key Lime Pie being hinted at by Google itself. According to a BBC report, the name for the next version of Android was decided in about an hour and the name was guarded so well that even most Google employees were unaware of the name.

Internally, Android 4.4 was referred to as Key Lime Pie so we can only imagine what crossed the minds of Google employees when they showed up for work this morning to the sight of a massive KitKat Bugdroid. However, after all of the excitement over a new version of Android passed we took a closer look at the naming of the latest version of Android. KitKat, seriously? Something smells a little fishy.

Associating itself with Nestle may cause Google some problems

Whenever two massive companies come together in such a close association there’s always going to be a few problems. It’s sort of like a marriage between two people who both have children. There’s a certain amount of baggage that must be dealt with.

Android 4.4 Kitkat

Another day at Google, oh wait, what’s this doing here?

Both Nestle and Google have been in the news for the wrong reasons in the past few months. Nestle has been criticised for its role in promoting powdered baby milk, as well as the horsemeat saga in February. Google (as well as other technology companies like Apple and Microsoft) was slammed after a Guardian report which claimed that the NSA had direct access to Google’s database via backdoors. This was strenuously denied by Google and as a result Google began encrypting data in its Cloud Storage service.

It's more of a you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours sort of deal.

While this might look as if it’s a massive advertising campaign, the director of Android global partnerships John Langering claimed that “this is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal.” While no actual money might have changed hands, this is still a marketing campaign involving both companies and it’s more of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” sort of deal.

So why did Google name its next version of Android after the Kit Kat bar?

Google had a perfectly good name for the next version of Android in Key Lime Pie, so why use the name Kit Kat? According to Langering it’s because few people actually know what the taste of Key Lime Pie is. We’re going to put that down as probably not being the reason. Sundar Pichai’s reason for the name isn’t any better after he claimed that the reason was because it was a favorite snack for Google employees.

A far more likely reason is something called “brand recognition”. Google has struggled to achieve the same brand recognition for Android as Apple has for iOS, and this partnership could be perfect for Android. There’s also the troubling fact that the word “Android” is only ever mentioned once or twice in Samsung and HTC launches. The words “TouchWiz” and “Sense” are heard throughout the speeches, but Android is barely ever mentioned.

Kit kat android

I’m not sure whether I feel like vomiting or having a Kit Kat.

The fact that “Samsung Galaxy” is searched up almost as many times as the term “Android” is especially disconcerting for Google. Google wants people to make the link between the smartphone they’re using and Android, and then to make a link back to Google.

Like how some people think that all tablets are iPads, there are some people who believe all Android smartphones are Samsung smartphones. My father saw that I’d bought a Nexus 4 and asked if that was the new Samsung Galaxy  S4. I proceeded to inform him that it was in fact a Nexus 4 running stock Android, but he just shrugged and said it was the same thing.

Could Google have generated just as much buzz by creating a doodle for the Google homepage, celebrating one billion Android activations?

The partnership between Google and Nestle could prove to be a great move by Google as Nestle has confirmed that the Android Bug Droid will be on the face of over 50 million Kit Kat bars in 19 different markets.

That’s a massive amount of marketing for Google, but does it outweigh the issues that some people have with Google supposedly selling out and associating the Android name with another brand? Could Google have generated just as much buzz by creating a doodle for the Google homepage, celebrating one billion Android activations?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

  • amiaq

    i hope kitkat won’t go sour

  • Agustin Almada

    First, would liked it better if it was Key Lime Pie
    Second, thought it was gonna be 5.0, why 4.4? Maybe not major improvements?

    • I agree. I kind of see Android 4.4 KitKat as more upgrades or updates to Jelly Bean and also so the manufacturers can caught up on their Android upgrades. And then Android 5.0 Key Lime will be announced and released either next May or July 2014 with the major improvements. Its not as weird as it sounds and I’m cool with it.

      • Josh Phillips

        If 4.4 is KitKat then 5.0 couldn’t be KLP, it needs to start with an L

        • I disagree but we will see. I believe all Android 4.4 KitKat is basically is small updates to help Jelly Bean and a good cross-promotion to hopefully sell more Android devices and content on the Google Play Store. Plus to help manufacturers caught up.

          So Android 5.0 could be Key Lime Pie. Hopefully 4.4 will deal with a few issues. It’s interesting that my Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a little slow and pain, while my Nexus 7 works great. Hopefully the update helps that.

          • taz89

            The next big update will start with l..the reasons 4.1 to 4.3 was called jb was because it were minor software updates. 4.4 will be a big update as it has gotten a name change..this is how I think android updates been working since ICS for a while..a 4.x plus change of name = a big update. A 4.x update keeping the same name = minor updates . a 4.x.x will be bug updates. So if I am write 4.4 kit kat will be a big enough update that it gets a name update and maybe 4.5 and 4.6 will also be called kit kat as they will be small updates ( like 4.2 and 4,3 jb) and then maybe with 4.7 it will change name to something that starts with L to signify a big update..personally I think that’s how it will go. I think the days of going from 4.0 to 5.0 are over and what I suggested or something similar is the new ways they are doing updates. Could be wrong but I don’t think I am. Also when Google change name of update its always meant significant updates to the os and they never use the ssame letter when they change the name so I highly doubt the next version will be named klp after kit kat. It will either kitkat or something starting with the letter l.

  • Anthony Tran

    I personally hate the name. It makes Android sound gimmicky… which this whole thing kind of is. It’s a smart marketing move on the whole, but I think the more tech oriented people will find it silly. I thought KLP sounded great.

    Also, I think it’s kind of stupid to name ANOTHER non-major release. Why couldn’t 4.4 be JB still… and then name 5.0 Kitkat or Key Lime Pie.

    • joser116

      I disagree with the first part and agree with the second part.

    • Mike Reid

      Yeah, no consistency now with names versus version numbers.

    • Leonardo Rojas

      Hopefully Google will stop being silly and will use Key Lime Pie name for 5.0, so, KitKat won’t last much. That can be the reason they changed the name now in a presumably minor upgrade.

      • S2556

        but 5.0 will most likely be L not K.

        • jorge

          Well, if 4.3 is Jelly Bean, and 4.4 is Kitkat, chances are that 5.0 is gonna start with a Q.

          • S2556

            If they did 0.1 increments each time than yes but current speculation is pointing to the jump from 4.4 to 5.0. Though anything can happen

          • spatchy

            cupcake, donut, éclair, froyo, gingerbread, honeycomb, ice cream sandwich, jellybean, KitKat.
            CDEFGHIJK… the next letter is L not Q.
            I think lemon meringue pie or liquorish :)

          • Spatchy

            the 2 testing versions of android were named after fictional robots Astro boy and Bender (from futurerama) which is why the desert names for android start a C

    • Reed

      Disagree. I think kit kat and I get warm feelings. It’s perfect.

  • Nech P

    kitkat? fail

  • Kyle Gustafson

    It’s just a name… doesn’t matter; except to the people who spend their time on android blogs

  • Johnathan Katz

    Android 5.0 was Key Lime Pie, it was never for 4.4, so why the change?

    • Bjajjull

      Google never said anything about 5.0 nor KLP.

      • Mike Palmer

        Thats right It was all just speculation so people need to chill out already!

      • spatchy

        actually they hinted at 5.0 Key Lime Pie multiple times

    • taz89

      There was never any confirmation of the next update being 5.0 or klp. Everthing was just speculations so they never changed anything other than keeping a very good secret.

  • Cal Rankin

    So does that mean that 5.0 will come out next spring or summer and be named “Lemon Meringue Pie”? Just a thought…

    • poop

      Hope so. That’s a desert everyone’s had a slice of :D

      If not, however, let the speculation begin!

    • D’Ander McSullivan

      I hope it don’t come out to be Android 5.0 Lollipop

      • jorge

        It may also be android 5.0 liquorice.

      • Cal Rankin

        that would be terrible, and cheesy, especially after Kit Kat

  • KitKat isn’t a bad name, it’s infact a good one, at least better than Key Lime Pie.. And it will also boost Android’s reconition.

    • Anthony Tran

      What? Android already is the largest global mobile OS and is still growing. I somehow doubt that Google needed Kitkats to bring brand recognition to the table. Google has market share in the bag right now–but one could always improve brand loyalty and satisfaction.

      • Reed

        As mentioned a few times above, no one actually knows what android is, at least from a consumer stand point. They just know it’s a Samsung or a galaxy. I work in a cell phone shop. Do you know how many people give me a face when i tell them android is made by Google? Recognition is what they need, badly.

    • najiy91


  • Fuzzy Dolphin banned 103 times

    I can’t wait to find out what’s the next letter!!!

    • Bono

      The next letter will be Lion, and rest assured, Apple will love it.
      To be followed later by Mars Bar, before they finally go Nuts

  • Ugo Marceau

    KitKat? Really ? Give me a break !

    • Fuzzy Dolphin banned 103 times

      well done!

  • Paul Taylor

    I love KitKats and I love Android. So it’s a win-win for me. Nestle are very late to the KitKat game, and the brand was traditionally associated with Rowntree for most of the 20th century. As the article indicates, it’s popular in some 19 territories around the world. As for ‘Key Lime Pie’ – does anyone outside the USA actually know what that is?

    • Porkchops

      Canadian here, never had Key Lime Pie before. :S

    • Jeldo Meppen

      German here and i bake it twice a year. Never had a Froyo or Gingerbread or Eclair, for that matter. Did you ever ate a Honeycomb? Everyone knows what Pie is. That’s no reason.

      • Sir_Brizz

        How do you live in Europe and never have an Eclair? And how do you live in freaking Germany and never have Gingerbread?

        • Jeldo Meppen

          Hahaha i guess it’s a regional thing. Gingerbread (or Lebkuchen if you will) is just nothing i ever had. AFAIK there isn’t even Ginger in it. I mean, i know what it is and all. Yeah and Eclair… No idea?! I never went to France. Stupid i know. ;)

      • spatchy

        froyo is short for frozen yoghurt so its basically ice cream

    • mark

      i really dont know what it taste like..
      never tasted of gingerbread and key lime pie..
      even lemon meringue pie

    • spatchy

      I live in the UK and I ate one a few days ago… I think I am now addicted :)

  • LorenzKE


    • Blowntoaster

      was that a “quad core” or “dual Core” kit kat?

      • Leonardo Rojas

        Looks like a single core n.n

        • Mark

          Just don’t overclock it. It’ll melt very quickly.

          • Marcus Renagade

            sometime when i get them they are already overclocked

  • Fuzzy Dolphin banned 103 times

    Google is contributing to the Obesity disease

  • Scott Lantow

    Hope something sways my anger, but this shut is stupid IMHO. What’s next? Android 4.5 lemon heads? Then eventually after we’ve been desensatized to corporate BS naming deals, R is for Android Red Bull? Then eventually Android BMO Harris bank! I really hope not. Just think it’s oftly #sellout of you +Android / +Google 

  • SHeadius


    Geeks getting mad over development names for their phone OS. Go out and get some fresh air for chrissakes.

    • Cristi13

      ^This, +1

    • taz89

      I know lol geeks all over the internet are getting mad over a name. The most important thing I care about is how the is will be, could care leas if it was called ken and barbie lol

      • Leonardo Rojas

        Did you know that Nestle paid many million dollars to stop the labeling of OGM food/products, not long ago so people like you and your loved ones don’t know that the ingredients that are in the majority of their food were genetically modified.
        That’s what you eat with every Nestle product; cancerous ingredients.

        That’s only one reason we should care about partnerships and what they involve. Nestle is an obscure company.

        • Hellz

          if something is genetically modified it doesnt mean its cancerous.

          • Leonardo Rojas

            Are you a biological engineer?

          • Leonardo Rojas

            Is that what your government tells you all to keep you calm and quiet?
            Anyway, you can keep eating what your government tells you it’s healthy.
            While other countries ban those products!
            Keep eating and happy cancer to you all n.n

          • Hellz

            im mechanical engineer but i have friend thats molecular biologist

          • gommer strike

            The only food you can trust is what you grow out of your own backyard garden.

        • billnozick

          there’s always that myth/rumour about how organic foods are more carcinogenic

          • Leonardo Rojas

            Sure, that’s why ancient people lived hundreds of years!

          • Guest

            Perhaps, but perhaps they we’re eating too much meat, and not enough of the veggiese, something that’s time consuming to collect, and lacks the calorie intake to be as efficient as meat

          • billnozick

            Perhaps, but perhaps they were eating too much meat, and not enough of the veggies, something that’s time consuming to collect, and lacks the calorie intake to be as efficient as meat

  • Filip Pešić

    Now Apple is gonna have a word with.. Milka.. :D

  • A.M

    yea 1st it’s not even a fail who knows what it will be so ya need to chill out alreay

  • trlovejoy

    Isn’t KitKat a Hershy product, at least in the US? Don’t they license the name from Nestle?

    • Sir_Brizz

      Yes, it is. And produced by Hershey’s and tastes far better, too.

  • Doug Dunfee

    It’s growing on me. Overall I think the KitKat brand is very recognizable with minimal negatives. More attention for AOSP is always a good thing in my opinion. We’re all out of high school now, no need to get our nerd pants in a bunch over “selling out”.

  • Roberto Tomás

    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.
    I don’t know about you, but I am going to continue to call it “Key Lime Pie”

  • Gregg Hutzler

    The your go my.

  • swingingballs

    Did you know that kit kat in Swahili means coyote crap?

    • Batman

      Did you know that the only people that live in Swahili are the ones that kill each other… everything good is probably called coyote crap in there so no one kills you for it. :p

  • Rohit Naik

    A small video dedicated to all friends and droid buddies who are just starting with Android development


  • Abdel Aziz Farhi

    Doesn’t really matter as long as its getting better.

  • PopeJamal

    Congratulations on getting an entire article out of this non-issue. There are very few people besides phone/tech nerds that even KNOW that each release of Android has a different code name.

  • John

    It’s okay nerds, nerds are awesome. I’m going to keep calling it Key Lime Pie too.

  • ConvivialMan

    Two of my favorite things, still I do hope this doesn’t send Android down the wrong direction.

  • bob

    That whole article is the biggest pile of bollocks I have read today. Jesus.

  • Timothy Anderson

    If you look at wikipedia, it looks like Nestle does not make KitKat or Rolo anymore, having sold the rights to Hershey. “If Hershey is sold, the rights to make and market Kit Kat and Rolo products in the U.S. would revert to Nestlé.” So any bad publicity that Nestle has, should have no bearing here (IMO).

    • spatchy

      only in the US over here in the UK KitKat still belongs to nestle… haven’t seen Rolo in ages though…

  • sakis apostolou

    i can see a deal with M&M next year

  • Eddie Vees

    Having worked as a contractor at Google, I can say that they never served any snacks from M&M Mars, Frito Lay, Hershey’s, Kraft, Nestle, or any large companies. Maybe that has changed, but I find it strange they would change from KLP to Kit Kat.

    Either way, I am more interested in knowing what new features are coming to the Nexus 5 as Google continues to ‘innovate’.

  • Cristi13

    Or what about you people to stop generalising about how the users are…

  • Migs

    Have a brick, have a KitKat.

  • jangaleon

    i did not see this one coming. but i like it, there’s a quirky feel to it. Besides, key lime pie is pretty american. I didn’t even know what key lime pie was until these rumors about the next version was out.

  • Shermon MK-1

    Many of you don’t like the name, yet many like 4.4 and many like kit kats…several of you eat kitkats while using android devices, why then should you dislike?

    • Grman Rodriguez

      You like cars. You also like ice cream. You may have eaten ice cream on a car before. So let’s call the next Audi the Audi ChocoTaco (Yes Choco Taco is an ice cream brand)

  • Ryu

    I am curious as to why it is now 4.4 instead of 5.0.

    • Bojan Tomic

      Maybe they wanna slow down with round number because it’ll be awful when it gets to Androd 11.0 or 15.0.. :S

      • TechDevil

        I’m more concerned about them running out of letters in the alphabet. I am really curious as to what happens when they hit the last letter.

  • meme

    I don’t even know what’s klp until I hear it from Google.

    yes, I don’t live in the states.

  • Benjamin

    I would prefer Android 4.4 TimeOut, Android 4.4 Ferrero, Android 4.4 Rocher, Android 4.4 Toblerone. Android 4.4 Kisses, Android 4.4 Hershey’s etc. hahahaha sounds way better than Kitkat though.

    • Grman Rodriguez

      Android KitKat will never sound as Android Jelly Bean or Android Key Lime Pie

  • ehEye

    i can only see association with one of the “archCriminals” of the planet as being a dangerous liaison; Nestle steals water, then sells it back to the owners in unsustainable plastic bottles / they are massive contributers to child obesity / and they don’t seem to give a damn! For a company who’s motto is “do no evil” [while it is clearly differentiated from “doGood”], the connections are becoming a greater and more difficult “STRETCH”!! oh yes, i happen to like KitKat Bars; but i don’t eat them. but then i have never liked or eaten jellyBeans.]

    • Leonardo Rojas

      I would spam AA with the obscure facts of Nestle.
      That’s a horrible company. What a pity AA is that committed to their Android line that have to ignore the fact Nestle is destroying the world.
      Come on and keep sharing about it.

    • Reed

      Its… Its just the name of an operating system…. I don’t think Google put much more thought into it then that, and they sure as hell didn’t pick kit kat to align themselves with child obesity and water theft. Just a name that fits with android perfectly….

  • Ruz

    This might also be a way of advertisement for Nestle instead of spending stupid amount of money in TV ads or any hoardings. Nestle might also have paid Google to use their name

  • HitokiriX

    FYI, Key Lime Pie is the greatest tasting pie in the world.

    • Andres

      In your world

      • HitokiriX

        Well, I’m from Florida… so you’re absolutely right.

  • Eric Bright

    Let me hope it’s going to be a major overhaul to the Android system, not just incremental update from Jelly Bean.

  • Reed

    There’s nothing but good that can come out of this naming thing. The (admittedly few) articles I’ve read saying about how bad this is are over blowing and over thinking it waaaay too much.

  • Chris Backe

    Next up: Android Laffy Taffy.

  • Knightpt

    How can this possibly be bad for Google in ANY possible thinkable way? The amount of publicity raised by this is absolutely massive, and aparently won’t cost Google a billion dollars to have it worldwide…

    Google is already in the PC of everyone that uses internet (or almoust), it’s already in milions of smartphones, now it will be in the retail market of goods of millions.

    It’s genious and it’s just another step in Google world domination (i kid, i kid…).

  • Rhino”

    Roflol…. really?? i cannot see why people are stressing over a confectionery chocolate bar name.

    if they want to work with nestle then let them :)

    …there are far more important things in this world to worry about than a chocolate bar name.

    people should seriously get out the house occasionally and breathe fresh air :D

  • Batman

    First thing I’m doing when this comes out… Buying a year long supply of Android KitKat. Also preserving one just for the heck of it for at least a hundred years and be like, yea… I was there :p

  • brendan soliwoda

    I don’t know. I’m thinking this whole thing is a ploy and the next version of android will be 5.0 and will be called Key Lime Pie. Google has never just announced a new version of android without an event behind it (4.2 being the obvious exception, but those were special circumstances because of hurricane Sandy). Why do it now? And if why is it that every 4.X update have been under the jelly bean moniker and now 4.4 is using a completely different name? I just don’t buy this. Google is playing us and I’m pretty sure that come November, there will be an android 5.0. But I could be wrong.

    • TechDevil

      Android 4.0 is Ice Cream Sandwich.
      Android 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 is Jelly Bean
      Android 4.4 is KitKat

      So no, not all 4.X have shared the Jelly Bean name.

    • TechDevil

      Android 4.0 = Ice Cream Sandwich
      Android 4.1-4.2-4.3 = Jelly Bean
      Android 4.4 = KitKat

      So you are incorrect; not all 4.x updates have been named Jelly Bean.

  • DrJStrangepork

    They should have went with Snickers.

    • gommer strike

      Because it really satisfies.

      • Jayfeather787

        They go in alphabetical order.

  • Guest

    People getting mad over the name is extremely stupid!! Don’t these people have better things to do? What is MORE important is if the update WORKS WELL with your device when it comes out.

    • TechDevil

      I strongly disagree. Could I call you “butthead” and you wouldn’t care because you work well in your daily life with that name?

  • Simple Buyer

    Cheap and accessible, like a lot of Android phones, and notably the “feel” of the “plastic-y” Samsung phones. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply respect how accessible the internet has become in large part thanks to Google and affordable mobile gadgets, and I own more than one Samsung Galaxy product. I prospect, though, that either our standards for what “nice” is will change (well, it already has if you look at how houses are built, for example), or Android may be fighting a bigger PR battle down the road. They may even regret this attempt at being publicly known if hardware shortcuts become the norm, especially if consumers (and thus manufacturers) get hyped over features rather than quality and stability.

    Yeah, I wanted Cannoli and Flan…. Coyote scat.

  • Marcus Renagade

    hopefully this version of android doesn’t break as easily as a kitkat bar

    • Jayfeather787

      Android has become much more stable, and is not likely to break, like a kit kat bar.
      Although, open source is a must, and developers should be able to break it, should they want to.