Give me a break, Android!

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: September 3, 2013

If you have been following news in the mobile world today, you probably already knew that one of us here at PhoneDog, at some point, was going to be making an article with an awful pun-intended title like this one. Likewise, if you haven't been following the news, might I direct you over to this post where things might make a little more sense, because I don't actually mean for Android to give me a break from their services. In fact, right now I'm actually rather pleased with the platform again after "taking a break" of my own for more than a year with my iPhone. Not only has Android definitely come a long way in just a couple of short years in terms of stability, but they've also decided to use one of my favorite candy bars as the name of their next Android update, Android 4.4.

For months, we have been assuming that Google was going to name the next major software upgrade of Android "Key Lime Pie", which works for the whole "naming Android versions after desserts in chronological order starting with the letter 'C' because 'A' and 'B' were too mainstream" thing Google is going for: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Each dessert up to this point has been pretty generic, and while we found it appropriate to assume that Google would once again choose to go with a dessert theme for their next major update, we didn't quite expect them to go for something like KitKat, a trademarked* candybar from parent company Nestle (Hershey's for the U.S.).

Upon seeing this news, but also seeing that no further details were given about Android 4.4, I sort of dismissed it thinking that there wasn't much to dwell on at this point. But the more I came across the articles that talked about this unexpected announcement the more I started to wonder why Google would do this. The obvious answer being, of course, for business. Google has always named their software versions under a general dessert name, but all of the sudden they're adopting the name of a very popular candy brand, supposedly without a single dime being exchanged between the two companies. I mean really, what do they have to lose? Kit Kat is already a very popular chocolate wafer bar, and Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system in the world. They can both benefit each other in mutual ways. For example, I've been staying away from products with a lot of sugar for about a year now, but great Caesar's ghost if I didn't have the strangest urge to go to the nearest gas station and buy myself a Kit Kat bar today. Kit Kat bars will also begin featuring prizes like Nexus 7 tablets and Google Play credits when you purchase specially marked packages. Sweet.

But aside from using a specific brand name dessert this time around, it's been brought up that Google and Nestle might be taking a bit of a gamble by associating themselves with each other. People who don't like Nestle enough, due to recent controversies regarding the company, might find that they'd rather switch platforms in order not to support the company. Likewise, fans of Kit Kat bars, but not Google or Android, might stop purchasing the candy bars merely due to association. Personally, I don't think that it's going to stop enough people for the impact to really matter.

I'm a sucker for companies with a sense of humor, and I've known for a while that Google was one of those companies due to their popular April Fool's pranks and not-so-April Fool's pranks that people thought were pranks (see: Gmail). Today, the announcement of Google calling their next major software update "KitKat" probably had people all over the world checking their calendars, just to make sure they weren't being pranked. Sure enough, it really is September 3rd and no known record of today being anyone's national holiday full of tomfoolery is known to be going on. Provided with an explanation from Google that they wanted this version of Android to have a "fun and unexpected" name, I would say that "unexpected" was definitely an understatement.

Nestle is also playing into the humor bit, releasing their own parody of what looks like a mobile tech commercial, but turns out to be a commercial breaking down what makes a Kit Kat bar in technical terms that made a Kit Kat bar sound entirely too complicated. I found the entire video to be amusing, but I definitely cracked the biggest smile at the word "Chunkybyte" when describing how many bytes come in a Kit Kat bar. I secretly hope this becomes an actual term for some absurd amount of memory in the future. Can you imagine? "This phone features 16 Chunkybytes of memory." You can't not smile. And although I had never visited the Kit Kat website before, holy Roman Empire, it looks magnificent now. Never have I cared so much about a candy bar enough to read through the entire first page like that.

Although there are very limited details on what the KitKat update will actually entail for Android, Google has pledged that their goal is "to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody". Whether "everybody" really means "everybody with an Android device" or "everybody who has an Android device that qualifies for the update" is definitely up for speculation, but I'm sure we'll be getting more "breaks" about this interesting development for Android in the coming weeks and months.

Readers, what are your thoughts on KitKat? Are you surprised that Google opted not to go with the name Key Lime Pie? Will the association of the name prevent you from buying one product or the other? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

* "Kit Kat" is trademarked, "KitKat" without the space is what differentiates Android from the delicious** candy bar.
** This is my own opinion and is not to say that everyone agrees that Kit Kat bars are delicious - although they definitely are.

Images via QuickMeme, Android Central, iDownload Blog