Google made a surprise announcement with Nestlé in a press release on Wednesday, 4 September 2013, when it revealed that the next version of Android would be branded “KitKat”.
It also confirmed that the next version number would be 4.4 and not 5.0.
“The news that the letter ‘K’ will be dedicated to Nestlé’s KitKat will surprise most technology commentators, who had widely thought the latest version would be ‘Android Key Lime Pie’,” the press release stated.
To mark the release of Android KitKat, Google and Nestlé announced that over 50 million specially branded KitKat bars will be available in 19 countries including Australia, Brazil, Dubai, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The packs will lead consumers to the Android KitKat website where they will have the opportunity to win prizes including a limited number of Google Nexus 7 tablets, and credits to spend in Google’s online content marketplace.
A small number of Android robot-shaped KitKat bars will also be offered as prizes in selected markets.
The BBC reported that the packaging for these bars had to be produced in advance over the past two months, yet Google and Nestlé still managed to keep the story a secret.
According to the BBC, executives from Nestlé and Google met face to face at a secret event held at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2013 to finalise the details.
Quoting Patrice Bula, Nestle’s head of marketing, the BBC report said that keeping the deal secret was “paramount to Google’s strategy”.
John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships is quoted as saying that if they said the “K” release is secret then people would have tried to figure it out.
Instead, Google continued to call the release “Key Lime Pie”, even with partners, Lagerling is quoted as saying.
The BBC also reported that Lagerling said that no money changed hands as part of the deal with KitKat. According to the report, Lagerling said the idea was to do something fun and unexpected.
Details about the new release of Android are scant, though the official Android website states: “It’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.”