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End of an era as Google drops Android’s dessert-inspired naming scheme

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Since the early days, after the alpha and beta releases, Android versions have always been named after tasty treats. Can you remember all of them?

Ok, here, we’ll jog your memory:

  • Android 1.5 – Cupcake
  • Android 1.6 – Donut
  • Android 2.0 – Eclair
  • Android 2.2 – Froyo
  • Android 2.3 – Gingerbread
  • Android 3.0 – Honeycomb
  • Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Android 4.1 – Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.4 – KitKat
  • Android 5.0 – Lollipop
  • Android 6.0 – Marshmallow
  • Android 7.0 – Nougat
  • Android 8.0 – Oreo
  • Android 9.0 – Pie
  • Android 10 – ?

That question mark at the end, for what we already know is version 10 of the world’s most popular mobile operating system, will, fortunately, or unfortunately (for all the Android nerds out there), never be filled.

This is because Google has made a change in how it names the versions of Android going forward. Version 10, or what we have been calling Android Q in anticipation of the reveal of a dessert-themed moniker, will be simply known as Android 10. Yes, that.

Why?

With over 2.5 billion active devices in use around the world and over 24,000 unique device models being powered by Android, it has truly become a global brand. Something beyond the realms of a small enthusiast community. Something that powers everyday people. Something that the masses identify with.

As such, according to Google, there has been a need to be inclusive. I mean, at some point we were cracking jokes of what we knew then as Android N being codenamed Njahi because that’s what some (not all) Kenyans can identify with (as awful as the actual food may be). Now, picture this on a global scale. Since the name ended up being Nougat, how many people identify with such a treat in their locales? Would a Kenyan in a far-flung part of the country like Shimoni islands or on the slopes of the Kerio escarpment identify with a name like Nougat? Or Jelly Beans (what are those?)?

“Our engineering team has always used internal code names for each version, based off of tasty treats, or desserts, in alphabetical order. This naming tradition has become a fun part of the release each year externally, too. But we’ve heard feedback over the years that the names weren’t always understood by everyone in the global community,” writes Sameer Samat, Android’s vice president of Product Management.

Then there are those other complications like the direct pronunciation of whatever release name Google goes with.

“For example, L and R are not distinguishable when spoken in some languages. So when some people heard us say Android Lollipop out loud, it wasn’t intuitively clear that it referred to the version after KitKat.”

And the commercial considerations in the event the name used is a brand owned by some other entity, something that comes up often every time suggestions of what the next version of Android would be called are thrown about. Heck, there’s even precedence in version 4.4 when the Android team partnered with Nestlé to release Android KitKat.

The low-hanging fruit and the subject of most banter after this news went out (even though it’s been debunked by Google already)? What if Google just couldn’t come up with a suitable treat name starting with the letter Q and just decided to conveniently end matters there? Coincidence?

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Brand new logo

To go with the new Android naming scheme is also a slight rework on the logo building on the new logo it unveiled in 2014 alongside the global Android redesign that saw Material Design take over our favourite mobile platform.






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