03
Sep
1

Traditionally, Google has stuck with generic names for Android versions: Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. Thus, when the big unveiling of 4.4, codenamed KitKat, happened out of nowhere this morning, the web was abuzz with questions. How can they do this? Is this a joke? I thought the name KitKat was "trademarked!" Well, there's a very simple answer to all these questions: it's a mutual partnership.

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In an interview with BBC News UK, both Nestle and Google spilled the beans on exactly how this co-branding and partnership came to be, and it's actually quite fascinating.

Originally, Google was going to use the long-rumored codename Key Lime Pie, but after realizing that "very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie," the company opted to change the name at the end of last year. Someone (presumably on the Android team) suggested KitKat as a name since the company keeps KitKats "in the kitchen for late-night coding" snacks.

After a bit of digging to find who actually controlled the KitKat name, Director of Android Global Partnerships John Lagerling gave Nestle a call to pitch the idea to them. The following day, Lagerling joined a conference call with Nestle, and the agreement was made just 24 hours later. Nestle Marketing Chief Patrice Bula claims it took them less than an hour to make a decision, stating that he was aware of the risks that could potentially arise from the co-branding.

"Maybe I'll be fired," he said, "when you try to lead a new way of communicating and profiling a brand you always have a higher risk than doing something much more traditional. You can go round the swimming pool 10 times wondering if the water is cold or hot or you say: 'Let's jump.'" And jump they did – the companies held a secret meeting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this past February to finalize the details.

Here's where things really get interesting. In order to keep the new name and partnership under wraps from the media, Google employees privy to the deal continued using KLP as the moniker for the upcoming version of Android – even when discussing details with manufacturers and, in many cases, other Google employees. In fact, most Googlers didn't know about KitKat until the statue was erected in Mountain View. That explains why we haven't heard a single rumor surrounding the new name – Google and Nestle managed to keep everything quiet for nearly a year. That's impressive.

The final aspect of this deal worth talking about is that it's not a "money-changing-hands kind of deal," according to Lagerling. They wanted to do something "fun and unexpected," so neither company is paying the other for the partnership. It's just two giants in their own respective fields coming together for a bit of a good time, but the benefits will likely be seen across the board for both parties.

BBC UK

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Hal Motley

    I still don't like it. But hey Android is Android. I love it and me disliking the name of a version won't stop me.

  • Jeffrey Smith

    "very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie"

    I think this a pressing problem that needs to be addressed. To those who do not know the taste of key lime pie, my heart goes out to you.

    • Hal Motley

      I was never a fan of citrus desserts anyway. But brandname partnership feels cheesey.

    • Wazzifer

      This might be dumb, but I honestly have never heard of KLP before its association with Android.

      • Leonardo Baez

        my first time tasting a Key Lime Pie, was this january in a trip to Key West.... I am 33 years old.

      • Krzysztof Jozwik

        That is odd.

        • Jonathan

          No, it's not. Food is cultural.

          • g0vt_h00ker

            Most Americans know key lime pie.

          • http://twitter.com/Rodrigost23 Rodrigo Tavares

            The World is not only the United States.

          • John Smith

            HAHA! "oh no u didn't." The last time I said this on AP some people didn't understand / were annoyed.

          • g0vt_h00ker

            Google is an American company.

          • Valerie Wallace

            Google is a global company now. They have offices all over the world.

          • sdf

            Most of whose employees are outside America.

          • g0vt_h00ker

            Also, who said the world is the united states?

          • http://twitter.com/Rodrigost23 Rodrigo Tavares

            You implied it when you said that most Americans know key lime pie to deny that "very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie". I was just trying to say that "very few people" includes not only American people, but people all over the world. Google is an American company that makes software/services/whatever to the world. Android is not US-exclusive, that's my point.

          • rgucci

            Most Americans don't know that Georgia is also country.

          • Dan

            I call bullshit. Most = more than 50%. Key lime pie is very regional.

          • ari_free

            Yeah it's not easy to get key lime juice

        • Adrián PB

          remember that America is formed by many countries not just the U.S.

      • GigiAUT

        I think the closest thing to it would be a Lemon Meringue Pie, not sure though.

      • xnadax

        I must confess that I hadn't heard of Éclair or Froyo either.

        • Elias

          No idea what's the taste of eclair, ice cream sandwich, key lime pie and kitkat.

          • Ivan Myring

            I've had all of them except: ice cream sandwich, and froyo

    • LazarusDark

      I agree wholeheartedly. Key Lime Pie, I mean the real thing- not the crap you get 99% of places, is my favorite food ever. Should we start a nonprofit to get KLP to all the pie-less people of the world?

      • Krzysztof Jozwik

        Why not just start a for profit and get rich?

      • Sxeptomaniac

        Even if it is "the crap you get 99% of places", key lime pie is pretty awesome. I've only encountered a few places that really managed to screw it up badly enough that it wasn't still delicious.

    • PainToad

      Silly Americans with their weird desserts.

      • Sxeptomaniac

        I pity anyone who's so timid as to think key lime pie is "weird". There are so many excellent desserts, and foods in general, to be tried, if you put your prejudices aside.

        Ube (usually misnamed Taro), out of SE Asia, is one of the most delicious dessert components, for example.

      • g0vt_h00ker

        What country are you from?

    • mg

      Just like Americans have never tasted a proper kit Kat, instead having to suffer the awful sick puke tasting Hershey chocolate version.

      • Wazzifer

        DUDE. THIS!

      • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

        Mmm. Waxchocolate.

      • ari_free

        A proper kit kat is battered and deep fried!

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      Never tried it myself either, it's really barely a "thing" in Australia. But I really want to try one based on the glowing reviews here!

      • Al McDowall

        If you're in Australia, you have Tim Tams. Double coat Tim Tams even! Forget Kit Kats, you'll only be disappointed...

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          Nah sorry, I meant Key Lime Pies. We definitely have KitKats here :)

        • ari_free

          I like Lea Liquorice. It's Aussie and starts with L

    • Cyber_Akuma

      I've had Key Lime Pie cheesecake, does that count?

    • Mike Reid

      Fewer still know what Android 4.4 has that's new over 4,3.

      Nobody talkin bout that ?

    • andrew__des_moines

      To anyone who attempts to make a key lime pie on a weekend whim: double the recipe crust thickness. You have to have the right balance between graham cracker crust and the more tart pie itself. That is the key to taste-bud exploding key lime pie.

      • ari_free

        Also, you need key lime juice. Not the same as regular lime juice.

    • s427

      Hey, it could have been Android Kouign-amann!
      ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kouign-amann )

      Seriously, (well, OK, half-seriously) it seems like a bad excuse to me. They already used honeycomb as a code name, which seems even less known than key lime pie to me.

      • George

        Notice, though, how unsuccessful honeycomb was for Google. I have literally only seen one device in the wild running 3.0

        • s427

          You're right. Damn those little-known desserts!

    • a_broken_star

      is this for real ? are we really discussing about taste of KLP ?? jesus...

      • David Alexander

        See their strategy was ingenious. With all the attention on KitKat, they knew the conversation would naturally come back to Key Lime Pie, so now as many people will know about KLP as about KitKat! :p

    • Josh Haug

      "very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie"

      Yes because we all remember that first time we took a bit out of a Honeycomb. Bees buzzing around and stinging oh the fond memory.

    • king789

      people from different countries use android. not only the US.

  • remister

    Key Lime Pie does sound like a mouthful. Hopefully this doesn't mean that Google is taking a break.

    • LazarusDark

      3 syllables. Not anymore of a mouthful than the last 4 codenames.

    • Mike Harris

      You, sir, are a mouthful.

  • Tim Gueusquin

    This benefits Nestle more than anything. How can you say no to free advertising from a company as big as Google. "Hey have you updated to KitKat yet?" "Nah but I would like to have one"

    • infogulch

      Well KitKat is shipping millions of kit kat bars with bugdroid all over them, so it seems a fair trade off to me.

      • dvschnk

        except in the US...kit kats are made by hershey. Nestle pays for the marketing, hershey gets benefit...brilliant.

        • squiddy20

          Whaaaaaaat!? I had no idea!

        • emperor43

          put hershey is licensing KitKat from Nestle so marketing is surely included in that price

        • Roger Siegenthaler

          because nestlé definetely doesn't make money of the amount that hershey ships :P

    • abqnm

      As long as it doesn't melt in my pocket, this will be awesome!

      • Krzysztof Jozwik

        Don't overclock and you're good to go.

  • Thomas Kremser

    offical KitKat:

    http://www.kitkat.com

    • Qliphah

      OK, that's officially the best website makeover ever!

    • Joshua

      This is truly brilliant in so many ways. #GrannyEyed

  • Wazzifer

    BREAKING: "Apple sues Google and Kit Kat saying that Steve Jobs' favorite candy was Kit Kat"

    • Hal Motley

      I am waiting for that.

    • Jonathan Welzel

      u had me laughing here sir, good job

    • IronHorse01

      Lmaoooo

    • Telefunken

      Apple's still going thermonuclear on Google. Can't you tell?

    • topgun966

      This wins the internet for the day, well done sir :)

    • Brandon Fletcher

      "Apple presents Kit Kat to the world on September 10, claiming the candy bar was their innovation."

      • ari_free

        it has rounded rectangles!

    • ari_free

      Jobs said of Mac OS X: "One of the design goals was when you saw it you wanted to lick it."

  • Jonathan Welzel

    loved it! hope the new android iteration is as delicious as the chocolate itself.

    • remister

      I can't wait for what they have in store for Android Wafer!

  • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com/ Silver Fang

    *empties supermarket shelves of kitkat bars and exits the store humming "gimme a break."

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    At least it isn't as stupid as Mavericks.

    • btod

      Ouch...

      • Krzysztof Jozwik

        Mavericks sounds just plain stupid.

    • Yash Ostwal

      In fact it sounds more delicious than KLP.

  • rob howe

    I think its an awesome idea by both parties....I wil of course help sales of kit kats but will also improve the android branding across the board...I wonder now if apple will ban kit kats from their offices...lol

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      Especially with the tie in to kit kats for free play moneys / maybe a N7.

  • Thomas Kremser

    Offical KitKat page:

    http://www.kitkat.com/

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      That is unbelievably well done.

    • Sxeptomaniac

      And it clicks with me as to why Android went with 4.4 and not 5.0. It's part of the tie-in.

      • Giingee

        I brought a special edition 5 finger kitkat here in the UK the other day...

  • Bleakvision

    I am more bothered by the 4.4 part of the story. Stock Android is getting long in the tooth, especially the dialer, gallery and the people app. The notification toggles are still a hack - dat flip effect! Homescreen widgets - ditto.

    • Sir_Brizz

      Just FYI, the dialer and contacts apps received pretty big updates from Android 2.2 to 2.3.

      • David Thoren

        Dialer also got an update in 4.3 with the ability to search for contacts.

        • Sir_Brizz

          True, thanks!

  • PhineasJW

    At the cost of FREE -- this was a near-nobrainer for Nestle.

    The only downside would be if Android 4.4 somehow turned into the Windows Vista of Android releases ... which being Google and at a 0.1 rev bump is *extremely* unlikely.

    So, Google gets to have fun, and Nestle gets a boatload of free advertising.

  • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

    Seems to be working.... I have a sudden urge for kit Kat bars

    • a_broken_star

      are u serious ??

  • Sylvio Furtado

    one of the best stories i´ve ever heard of... beautiful!

  • LeDerp

    No ones talking about how little they're talking bout the chunky kitkat, could be an alteration to the code. Imagine the ROM names, KitKat Dark

    • TheFirstUniverseKing

      Or perhaps "Melted Kittens."

  • http://www.mayura4ever.com/ Mayura De Silva

    Love every version of chocolates ;) But more interested in ingredients of Android 4.4!

  • redragn5

    I for one feel the need to support this joint branding endeavor by eating a KitKat while waiting for more details about 4.4 - break time it is!

  • Jose Torres

    I think I'm gonna get diabetes just by reading so much about Kit Kat today...

  • Yash Ostwal

    I just hope 4.4 would be a refresher and nothing like the iveOS 7!

  • Rumpelstiltskin

    Seems legit. Because we all know how a f*cking eclair (2.0) taste like. Cut the craps and give us Key lime pie!

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Somebody's bitter. Which is ironic, since the lime's been taken away from you.

  • Wazzifer

    I don't want to start any speculations or rumors or anything, but according to Kit Kat's site the giveaway starts on the 6th. I could swear I read somewhere that the new Kit Kat packaging will hit the shelves on the 6th....which is when IFA is starting. Anybody?

    • Baleeted

      You're on to something.

  • David Thoren

    Break me off a piece of that FRAGMENTATION!

    EDIT: I am an android fan. This was just a joke that had to be made.

    • user311

      Dude, don't you have some heterosexuality challenged colored icons to play with?

      • David Thoren

        Don't be so quick to judge.

      • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

        Oh cool homophobia.

        • user311

          Where exactly was homophobia implied? I have a lot of homosexual friends and we jokingly use that term all the time. It just pretty much means "not straight." So, I just noted that the icons on a certain fruity phone weren't those usually liked by heterosexuals. But with all the types of fetishes and "sexualities" out there how exactly are we supposed to know what rocks his waves... But the fact that you were so quick to jump to homophobia, what exactly does that make you?

          • ari_free

            Not sure what any of this has to do with....kitkat bars

          • Andrew

            It's pretty easy to assume in a public forum that referring to something essentially as "gay" (even in a convoluted way) in the process of insulting someone is a no-no. You're fine using that within a circle of friends which is a mutually safe space but the internet is a different context with a different audience. I don't think you're homophobic but it is still possible for you to say homophobic things that contribute to a negative culture around people like me.

            Damn, I hate when I get preachy. Also, yay Android 4.4!

          • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

            The assumption that gay and straight people have different aesthetic preferences when it comes to icons is remarkably stupid.

          • user311

            So when exactly are you planning on having that surgery to remove that stick from your ass? Or do you like it there?

          • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

            Sorry I don't like being stereotyped I guess I'm just weird like that.

          • user311

            LoL so you turned a joke about Apple's choice of colors and made it all about yourself... Its a joke deal with it. Your last statement appears to want to use your "situation" as a crutch. Poor you. Get a life. Be happy about who you are and most importantly; Welcome to the internet...

          • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

            Nothing more I can say that Andrew hasn't very eloquently covered in his reply.

          • user311

            And yet you felt the need to do so anyway... >.>

  • kauthor47

    Now I really want a KitKat. Sons of bitches got me.

  • remister

    I want some Green Tea KitKats MEOW!!

  • LjHe80

    I see the picture with the statue at Mountain View and everything, but I can't help but think that Google is trying to pull a joke here somehow.

  • JakobStar
  • JakobStar

    What a f**g joke! So wrong in so many aspects!

  • Cherokee4Life

    The thing is that this isn't free branding for the next 2 years.. KitKat will FOREVER bee known as Android 4.3. This is limitless Advertising for Nestle. Now Google only has about a year of free advertising with Nestle and being on their wrappers I would say.

    • HelloSoy

      Android...4.3? Did you go to space for the last 3 months and come back counting 124?

    • JMD

      Can't tell if your retarded or simply a troll.

      • Cherokee4Life

        Can I be both?

  • Ray

    After KitKat... will come Crunchy.

    So it seems Google has moved away from cakes and towards chocolate bars. :)

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      How does Crunchy start with an L?

      • Ray

        I know L would follow Google's progression up the alphabet, but we were all expecting v5 Key Lime Pie and look what just happened - the internet is in chaos!

        Anything is possible now.

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          They changed from one K sweet to another K. It doesn't follow that suddenly they're throwing away the entire scheme.

          • Ray

            So what you're saying is that there is no possibility of them ever changing the entire scheme? That they 'must' run through the entire alphabet?

            Seriously, my comment above was a stupid joke which obviously you didn't catch onto. They went from cakes to chocolate bars - regardless of whether or not it started with L, I simply said the next thing we know it will be called Crunchy - following the chocolate bar theme/scheme/whatever you want to call it.

            I can't believe the outage and utter chaos this has caused.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Weird straw man you built there. I said no such thing. But there's utterly no reason for them to break their pattern any time soon. There are plenty of easy letters left. They're far more likely to switch away from sweets than a clear, progressing pattern like the alphabet.

            And I recognized that it was a stupid joke, but it wasn't rooted in any clear reality I could find, which was why I commented. They didn't switch from cakes to chocolate bars. In fact they've never had a SINGLE cake as a codename for a release. Not one. They just switched from one sweet, a pie, to a different sweet, a popular candy bar. That doesn't signify any change in direction or naming scheme, making your joke really hard to understand.

            Take the critique, learn from it, move on. Nothing more to see here.

          • Ray

            HAHA! Ok, you win, I'm out.

          • cupcakeguy

            cupcake is a cake... just saying

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Good catch. Forgot about the very first version.

          • ari_free

            Why are we arguing over fun stuff?

          • ari_free

            But they have to do something to mix us all up again. I know! Next version is llama

  • Goldenpins

    Went and bought myself some kitkat bars. Showing the advertising does work, if done well.

  • ElfirBFG

    Krispy Kreme would've been better, although 4.4 does fit with Kit Kat's 4 finger arrangement. Either way, I'm stuck on 4.0 for another year. )=

  • http://www.gundamaustralia.com/ cameron charles

    im not surprised, i was more surprised when KLP was first floated, as an aussie id never heard of it, it seemed like a rather "specialised" dessert enjoyed in one place essentially, unlike the other very well known choices of previous versions

  • http://www.gundamaustralia.com/ cameron charles

    wasnt there a rumour 4.4 build code floating about recently with the letter KK, we should have known people

  • John Smith

    Joke I learned in the UK a while ago...
    Q: What's the difference between an Essex girl and a KitKat ?
    A: You only get 4 fingers in a KitKat !

  • NemaCystX

    Does this affect the US differently though since Nestle doesn't distribute KitKats here, Hershey does

    • Mobile Phones Fan

      Good question. But since there's no way in heck Google went into this deal without a KitKat tie-in campaign aimed at the US market, then I'd say one of two things is likely true.:

      (a). Nestle's ownership of the Kit Kat name -- and they definitely own it, per se -- gives them final say over any worldwide branding efforts, or...
      (b), The folks at Hershey had previously indicated they would defer to Nestle as the sole negotiator for both parties, in this particular instance.

      Background:

      In 1970, Hershey Co. obtained a perpetual license to the KitKat name from the originating company (Rowntree's of York, England), the terms of which limit their usage to candy bars and the US market, only (presumably, North America).

      In 1988, Nestle acquired Rowntree's and with it the ownership of the KitKat name for *all* purposes, except in two markets controlled by Rowntree's licensees: USA (Hershey) and Japan (Fujiya). They later obtained the Japanese rights, as well.
      .

  • MindFever

    Oh snap... Get it? Not even a giggle? *crickets singing*

  • Lisa

    Hm. I'm very disappointed to see this. Nestlé has a terrible track record when it comes to the environment and human rights. They still conduct animal testing and are big supporters of genetically modified food. How sad that Google has aligned itself with them.

    • barry

      +1, I am surprised it has taken so many messages before someone raised the history of Nestle. They have been the subject of boycotts all over the world, starting with their marketing of breast milk replacement in countries where water quality is suspect. Disgusted but not altogether surprised at Google, they don't think....

  • CristianoAdiutori

    G nius

  • Vivian

    Lol.. I was first introduced to term key lime pie when I played a baking game on fb. Never tasted it yet. This dessert is not sold in my small country in Asia. Kit Kat is! Is everywhere from the largest mall to the smallest road side paddler. Good name choice for branding. P/s: I am using Jelly Bean 4.2.2 on Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Duos in case you are wondering how backward I am

    • Marx

      4.2.2 is the latest update from Samsung. So the one that backward is Samsung, not you.

  • Tomi

    I love kit kat though, Someone i cannot wait to Awesome how impressive Its is.

  • drawkcaB

    Can you imagine how pissed off the iSheep are that every time they want a kitkat....

    • ari_free

      they can only eat rotten apples and sour grapes

  • Suhas

    This was totally unexpected and the outcome would be great for both the companies. Android 4.4 KitKat - time for a break.

    What are we gonna see next? Android 5.0 Lindt? 8)

    • jesuguru

      Please no, that's out of my chocolate budget.

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      oh my, how did I miss lindt :P I've been trying to think of some confectionary with the letter l for ages.

      • ari_free

        lemon meringue pie?

  • Mat Helm

    Cheese Cake 4.5 anyone?...

    • ari_free

      L comes after K :)

  • Xajel

    I didn't thought of having a lunch today after the late breakfast, but after reading this: I think I'll have a Kit kat for my lunch !!

    Damn, I thought I'll finally taste that Keylime pie, and yes I never a tried it before !!

  • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

    When I get my next device (if I ever do with this economy =| ), I require a kitkat bar when updating to Android 4.4...it just doesn't seem right to do it without one O:

  • Beaux
  • Armus

    Poor poor key lime pie - the flavor that will never be

  • Cristi

    Now I'm boycotting Nestle, but I am an Android fan...this is a sad day for me :(

  • Razo_E

    Here's the thing, Kit Kat is sold by Hershey's in the US, but Nestle for the rest of the world. Does that mean Hershey's agreed as well?

  • kylie titan

    Im guessing after kitkat they naming every nestle bar there is... milkybar ^_^

  • Nabeel Farooqui

    For a damn year?

  • Zacisblack

    Join this Google+ community for Android 4.4 KitKat discussion!

    https://plus.google.com/communities/104210809465615279676

  • http://www.techaxle.com/ TechAxle.Com

    I am thinking to taste this choclate. Awaiting for the release. :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shane-Blyth/100001334436450 Shane Blyth

    yeah right I am sure that was the reason ...... rolls eyes

  • madscientest

    google is crap, their naming convention is crap. really? you name your software products after food that has no relative connection. LAME.
    you cant name a product klp because people dont know the flavor? wtf does the flavor of klp even have to do with your product? nothing. google users are idiots like google employees. go choke on an ics and die!

  • Guest

    Thank you Android Police for being the first to report this and

    thank you Nestle Kitkat! :)

  • keha

    Nestle got the better part of the deal because everytime I see that KitKat Android I want to bite the hell out of it. Seriously - break me off a piece of that KitKat Android.

    But when I see KitKats in the store I don't think about buying another Android phone or tablet. I just think mmmmm KitKat...