Google announces 'KitKat' as next Android version as platform crosses 1 billion activationsAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Hot on the heels of Apple's announcement of its Sept. 10 iPhone event, Google has revealed some major news of its own. Sundar Pichai, head of Chrome and Android, has announced that the Android 4.4 will officially be known as "KitKat." A landing page on the official Android website has confirmed KitKat as the "K" dessert, as well as the fact that the next version of Android will be 4.4 rather than 5.0.
To go along with its new dessert, Google has revealed that specially-wrapped KitKat bars with Android branding will soon begin appearing in stores. Buyers will have the chance to win a new Nexus 7 tablet or Google Play credit.
It's long been rumored that "Key Lime Pie" would be the nickname for the next major version of Android. That's part of the reason why this "KitKat" name comes as a surprise, with the other part being that Google has chosen a trademarked name to represent its new software. John Lagerling, Google's director of Android partnerships, has told BBC News that neither side is paying one another for the deal. Instead, Lagerling explainsthat the driving force behind the decision was to do something "fun and unexpected."
As for the "Key Lime Pie" name, it's said that Google's Android team had referred to the new software by that moniker internally. However, Lagerling says that because few people know what a key lime pie tastes like, Google decided to go in another direction. KitKats were suggested as a possibility because Google keeps them stocked in its kitchens for late night snacking, and 24 hours after making a cold call to Nestle in November 2012 to inquire about a partnership, a deal between the two companies was struck.
Unfortunately for Android fans hungry for more KitKat, there's no word yet on exactly what features the new OS will include. Google does promise on its landing page that its goal with KitKat is to "make an amazing Android experience available for everybody." Only El Goog knows for sure what that means, but it could suggest that the company plans to improve Android to work on lower-end hardware, both for entry-level devices and for products like smartwatches.
Pichai also announced today that Android has officially crossed the 1 billion device activation mark. This milestone comes around 3 1/2 months after the total number of activations hit 900 million.