Android 4.4 KitKat is official. Why? How? What’s the deal?

android 4.4 kitkatGoogle’s Sundar Pichai, head of both Android and Chrome, has confirmed that the next version of Android will be called KitKat.

Yup, you read that correctly, KitKat. You know, the trademarked name of the chocolate-covered wafer from Nestle.

splash page for the new operating system reveals that KitKat will be the codename for Android 4.4 and not 5.0.

This also means that the long-rumored Key Lime Pie, which has been used as an internal codename for the next software release by Google, has been kicked in to touch.

Why? well, apparently the company decided to go for another name after realising that “very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie,” director of Android partnerships John Lagerling tells the BBC.

Late last year, someone suggested naming the upcoming version KitKat — apparently a favorite snack of Android coders — and the company “decided to reach out to the Nestle folks.” Within 24 hours an agreement was made, though it’s apparently “not a money-changing-hands kind of deal,” according to Lagerling.

Android 4.4 KitKat

Even though there’s no cash changing hands, there is a significant promotional element: 50 million KitKat bars in 19 countries will have prominent Android branding and offer buyers the chance to win a Nexus 7 tablet and Google Play gift cards.

KitKat Chunky Android NL

Those wrappers started production two months ago in secret to be all ready for the promotion; not even Google employees knew about the new name. “We kept calling the name Key Lime Pie internally and even when we referred to it with partners,” Lagerling told the BBC.

Pichai says in a Google+ post that he has just returned from meeting with hardware partners in Asia, and he adds that there are now over 1 billion Android activations.

He goes on to say that he “can’t wait to release the next version of the platform that is as sweet as the candy bar that’s one of our team’s favorites.”

I wonder if the phone signal notification will feature four KitKat finger-shaped bars…

Is this the oddest tie-in? Do you know stranger bedfellows between the tech world and elsewhere? Let me know.

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