Sep. 3, 2013 at 3:32 PM ET
Ever since Android 4.1, or "Jelly Bean," was released in 2012, there have been rumors about what the next entry would be in the sweet-toothed alphabetical naming scheme. The lead contender was "Key Lime Pie," but Google has just surprised everybody by announcing that version 4.4 will be called "KitKat."
Yes, the trademarked chocolate-covered wafer treat is really it, but don't worry, Google asked permission first. In a Google+ post, the Android team writes:
KitKat has been a favorite candy on the team for some time, so for the K release, we asked if they’d be willing to lend their iconic candy bar to its name.
This may not be the first time Google has sought an official candy name for its operating system: rumors briefly circulated that version 4.1 would be called "Jujube."
The deal with Nestlé, however, is for more than just naming privileges. The Swiss confectionery announced that it will be making 50 million Android-branded KitKat bars for distribution around the world. And each has a chance to win a free Nexus 7 tablet or credit at the Google Play store. (Sure, it's no golden ticket — but that's for a different candy company anyway.)
Find it hard to believe? Head over to Nestlé's Flickr stream for pictures of chocolate Androids being assembled — and, of course, the inevitable huge statue decorating Google's courtyard.
Google and Nestlé told the BBC that the deal was hammered out very spontaneously early this year, and that the "Key Lime Pie" name was retained internally to keep the deal a secret.
What about the software itself? No clues except for on the official Android KitKat site, which says KitKat will "make an amazing Android experience available for everybody." The goal may be accomplished before KitKat even hits the scene: Google's Sundar Pichai revealed today that there have now been a full billion Android device activations, and growth shows no sign of stopping.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.