Why Android 4.4 KitKat is a horrible, yet brilliant name

September 3, 2013
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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!

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