As Google's Android tops 1B activations, next version gets named 'KitKat'

in iPhone edited January 2014
Google's Android operating system has now passed one billion total device activations, the company announced on Tuesday, and the milestone comes as the search giant is gearing up to release the next version of its popular mobile operating system, which will be named after a familiar chocolate treat.

Sundar Pichai, head of Google's Android, confirmed in a tweet that the mobile operating system had passed one billion activations on Tuesday. Android is by far the most widely used mobile operating system in the world, installed on three out of four smartphones sold worldwide and an increasing number of tablets.

Pichai's announcement could mean that the pace of Android installations is accelerating. In mid-May, at its Google I/O developer conference, the search giant announced that it had seen 900 million total activations to date, meaning that as many as 100 million devices have been activated since then.

By comparison, it took Android two years to reach the 100 million mark in 2011. The platform hit the 400 million mark in 2012, meaning it has added 600 million more in a little over a year.

Even as Pichai touted Android's newest milestone, his tweet revealed yet another detail that had been much anticipated among the Android fan base: the name of the next operating system. Google initially introduced the mobile operating system in 2009, under the moniker Cupcake, with the goal of breaking itself off a piece of the burgeoning smartphone sector. Subsequent major updates have gotten their own dessert-themed names, each in alphabetical order: Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwhich, and most recently Jelly Bean.

Now, by tweeting an image of the newest take on the Android mascot, Pichai confirmed that Android version 4.4 will be named KitKat, after the chocolate, crispy crunch bar originally created by Rowntree's of York, England, but now sold in the U.S. by Hershey and worldwide by Nestl?.

The news comes as something of a surprise to much of the Android community, which had largely settled on Key Lime Pie as the presumptive next Android version. The retention of the Android 4.x numeration would seem to indicate that KitKat will be more of a refinement than a considerable leap from Jelly Bean, much as Jelly Bean cleaned up some of the more nagging issues in Ice Cream Sandwich.

The KitKat description on Google's page reads only "It's our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody." While the exact meaning of the description is unclear, Google has been rumored to be working to make the next version of its operating system more compatible across devices, with the aim of reducing Android's fragmentation problem without damaging its relationship with manufacturers.

The release of Android 4.4 will, according to Google's own page for the announcement, come alongside a contest hosted by Kit Kat. The company behind the candy bar will be looking to give customers a break in the form of a free Nexus 7 tablet or Google Play credit, which customers can win by buying special Android-branded Kit Kat bars in stores.

Kit Kat has joined in on the cross-marketing effort as well. The candy company followed Google's announcement with its own video, one that plays on the standard tropes of mobile device advertisements in order to tout "Kit Kat 4.4 ? The future of confectionery."


  • Reply 1 of 99

    This has got to be a joke.

  • Reply 2 of 99
    dsddsd Posts: 186member

    OH SNAP!



  • Reply 3 of 99
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,056member

    Pfft... right.  When an Android owner throws their crappy phone through a window and buy's an iPhone, how does Google count that??  waiting... hmmm...

  • Reply 4 of 99
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,757member
    This has got to be a joke.

    The video? Yeah, I think it is. The name? That apparently (and unfortunately IMO) isn't.
  • Reply 5 of 99

    Well at least they got permission to use KitKat

  • Reply 6 of 99

    Android. Full of sweetness and fat but ultimately empty calories. 

  • Reply 7 of 99
    This is....embarrassing.

    Actually, in Germany we have a word called "fremdschämen" which basically means you're embarrassed on behalf of some else's behavior. Like in this case.
  • Reply 8 of 99
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Gross.  I wonder how much moola Kit-Kat is paying them for this travesty.  


    All Google thinks about nowadays is f*cking advertising.  

  • Reply 9 of 99
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

    Well at least they got permission to use KitKat


    No, it's more like Kit-Kat approached them and said "How much money would it take for you to make the next Android version ..." etc. 

  • Reply 10 of 99

    Gimme a break


  • Reply 11 of 99
    moxommoxom Posts: 326member


    Originally Posted by OriginalG View Post

    Gimme a break



  • Reply 12 of 99
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    originalg wrote: »
    Gimme a break


  • Reply 13 of 99
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,367member

    I still would like to know what constitutes an "activation".  It seems to me that a device can be reactivated multiple times. I have a lot of friends that have had to take their crappy Android phone back to the store and get a replacement.  Each one of those is an activation, but all that means is that a device was activated onto a network.  Those devices could (and probably are) sitting in a freaking landfill or drawer somewhere and not being used.  It's a useless metric.  It sounds great, but has no bearing on the health of the ecosystem.  What types of Android devices. ANY.  That's another problem. That means that any craptastic piece of crap that anyone could possible sell with a bit of Android code on it counts as an activation then?


    I'm just saying it's a bullshit number.

  • Reply 14 of 99
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member

    Well Android does break a lot, so whats another break?


    I'm pretty sure the KitKat name is trademarked hence the need for cross promotion.

  • Reply 15 of 99

    Please can I name the next one!!!???........ "NERDS"

  • Reply 16 of 99

    More proof that Google is a glorified ad company that happens to make an OS . . .  that is a glorified ad delivery system, with User Experience as an afterthought. 

  • Reply 17 of 99


    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

    Gross.  I wonder how much moola Kit-Kat is paying them for this travesty.  


    All Google thinks about nowadays is f*cking advertising.  


    Zero $ apparently.


    "This is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal," John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, told the BBC.

  • Reply 18 of 99
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    Just like Android, only some users will be eligible to buy the Android branded kit Kat candy. Other people will eventually get them after the candy goes through "rigorous compatibility testing" with supermarkets and other resellers.
  • Reply 19 of 99

    Really, though? Poking fun at Jony Ive.  That's just weak.  Jony's the man, and they're clearly jealous that Apple's designs are more refined than anything in the Android ecosystem.

  • Reply 20 of 99


    Originally Posted by gregnacu View Post

    Really, though? Poking fun at Jony Ive.  That's just weak.  Jony's the man, and they're clearly jealous that Apple's designs are more refined than anything in the Android ecosystem.

    I prefer Apple over Android but I don't think that video was an attack or that it came from a place of jealousy. I think in a way that google was actually making a little fun of themselves and were showing that they don't have to take themselves so damn seriously all the time. To me it felt refreshing.

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