Google has this morning announced that the next version of Android will be version 4.4 and in keeping with their confectionery themed naming convention it will be called KitKat.
The new version which Sundar Pichai announced in a Google+ post after returning from a trip visiting partners in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, also showed off the newest addition at Google Headquarters in Mountain View where a new statue has taken up residence outside Building 44 :
The new version of Android is up on the Android website and even includes it’s own sub-domain where the progression of Android releases is outlined. For Android 4.4 Google has outlined their goal for the update :
It’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.
In a first for Google, the company has decided to go with a licensed product name. According to John Lagerling, director of Android Global Partnerships, who told the BBC that the deal does not actually involve any money exchanging hands, instead he said the concept was to do something ‘fun and unexpected’.
The deal was actually arranged after Mr Lagerling cold called Nestle’s UK advertising agency and 24 hours later the deal was sealed. Indeed according to Patrice Bula, Nestle’s Marketing Chief ‘Very frankly, we decided within an hour to say let’s do it’. The final details of the deal were completed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February and the deal will see Android themed KitKat bars sold in 19 markets which includes Australia according to Nestlé Australia.
While it seems there is a competition involving Nexus 7 and Google Play Credit giveaways, it appears to be a US based deal but we will be contacting Google and Nestlé Australia to confirm. Although the Nestle Australia website does advise that there are 500 handmade Android KitKats that be distributed around the world where they will be offered as prizes in selected markets.
It seems that KitKat is really embracing this partnership as well, releasing this promo video – titled Android KITKAT 4.4 — The future of confectionery. The video takes a gentle stab at some of the launches seen from well known tech companies and describes the KitKat bar :
No release dates or further details have been given at this stage. Android 4.4 ‘KitKat’ is expected to launch with a new Nexus phone at some time in October in keeping with the time frame of the last two Nexus phone launches, at this stage the rumours are pointing at either an LG based Nexus 5 based on the LG G2 or a Motorola built Nexus 4, possibly based on the Moto X, to which I say – Why Not Have Both?
What features will be included are not really known at this stage but with the goal of Android 4.4 ‘to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody’ it seems this could possibly be tied in with either launching Android on a variety of products or doing something about addressing the ‘fragmentation’ of Android versions across devices, which they’ve begun by de-coupling applications and APIs from the Android OS and delivering through Google Play Services. It’s an interesting thought and we will only truly see what they mean when Android 4.4 is finally released.
What are your thoughts on Android 4.4 – What will be the next new feature?