Android 4.4 KitKat: The backstory

Android KitKatIn a surprising move, Google on Tuesday announced that its next Android version is going to be called KitKat. Yes, Google has got a deal with Nestle for the use of KitKat in the name of Android 4.4 and the deal isn’t just limited to naming and according to a press release, Nestle plans to deliver more than 50 million chocolate bars featuring the new Android mascot to shops in 19 markets, including UK, US, Brazil, India, Japan and Russia.

What is more interesting that there is no money exchanging hands between the companies for this tie up and according to marketing executives that talked to BBC from both the companies, it is a mutually beneficial deal.

John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, confessed to BBC that the Android 4.4 release was initially planned to be indeed called Key Lime Pie but sometime late last year, they decided to switch to the chocolate bar name.

“We realised that very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie,” Lagerling said. One of the snacks that we keep in our kitchen for late-night coding are KitKats. And someone said: ‘Hey, why don’t we call the release KitKat?’

Lagerling added that he contacted Nestle sometime in November last year and the deal was confirmed in less than 24 hours of the first call to Nestle.

“Very frankly, we decided within an hour to say let’s do it,” Patrice Bula, Nestle’s marketing chief told BBC. The nitty-gritties of the deal were later completed at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona.

When the companies finally made the deal public yesterday, everyone was surprised. There had not been a single leak or rumour suggesting that Google was planning to call the next Android version KitKat and in fact, the news stories until a day ago were called next Android version as “Key Lime Pie.”

Both Nestle and Google executives told BBC that they aggressively tried to keep everything under wraps. Only handful members of the Android team knew about KitKat and Google internally continued to use KLP as the codename until now and they even referred to the next Android version as Key Lime Pie with manufacturing partners.

So, how many of you liked this surprise from Google?

Note: While there have been no confirmations, Google is expected to officially unveil the next Nexus smartphones and detail Android KitKat at a press event in October.

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