Google has decided to once again mess with our expectations and announce something completely unexpected. For a long time we had been speculating that the newest version of Android would be a numeral jump (jumping from 4.3 to 5.0) and that it would be called Key Lime Pie, as it was one of the few dessert names that started with a “K” and was not a commercial product. This was further speculated by the fact that every leak of the new versions of Android and the information provided by chip manufacturers referred to the next major Android release as “KLP”, and there was even art coming out of Google supporting this idea. As it turns out, the new release will instead be called “KitKat”, fueled by a promotion with the popular chocolate bar maker that will offer devices, Play Store credit and other prizes through specially made Android KitKat chocolate bars. The bar comes with a code that you can put on the official Android KitKat website to see if you’ve won. You can check out the promotion and other KitKat related goodness on the official website.
Despite the official announcement, Google has not revealed a lot of information about the upcoming KitKat release in terms of features. All that is really known at the moment, and open for speculation, is the official tagline of the release, which is “It’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody”. Now, these are official words, and Google knows they can be interpreted in a lot of ways and fuel speculation, but it’s hard not to wish that this release’s highlight is to finally make Android available to everyone, in the sense that any device could receive the update directly from Google and not have to go through the manufacturer or brand device. That would make the Android upgrade model, currently one of its major weaknesses, more similar to Apple and their iOS devices. Is that even possible for Android? We don’t really know, but it would certainly be nice, and probably end future Android fragmentation once and for all. It would certainly be deserving of a brand new release name, after dropping the mighty popular and successful Jellybean.
Another aspect that the tagline could be referring to would be the ongoing effort of putting Android in low-power and low-spec devices, which has become one of the priorities as of late for Android. Android has not followed the common OS trend of demanding better specs with every release, and in fact the latest versions have pretty much the same or even lower specification requirements as Gingerbread or Froyo, while performing much better. Google’s recent effort with the Chromecast and Google Glass only further prove that Android has been making strides to reach multiple device formats, so that may very well be what the inspiration for this release is, instead of the aforementioned global updating. We’ll have to wait and see, as information is surprisingly scarce right now.
In related news, during the unveiling of KitKat, where Google has once more planted a new Android statue to celebrate the new release, a previously unknown device was spotted in the promotional video. This device, with a Nexus branding on the back and what appears to be an LG logo, seems to carry with it a very large camera, possibly plastic backing and rounded contours. It also appears to be a large device, probably ranging on 5 inches, unlike the already available Nexus 4. These factors, along with the fact that at the past I/O the Android team revealed that photo and video quality would be one of the major points for future Android and Nexus releases, point to this device as being the successor to the current Nexus 4, which coincidentally was also just on sale at the Play Store to get rid of the existing stock. Take a look at the device spotted below:
And that’s about all we have right now regarding Android 4.4 and the upcoming Nexus phone. This release seems to be very public and an attempt of Google to make Android even more popular and publicized by bringing it more to the public eye, but it seems strange to announce the name and very little else. KitKat has also claimed that this promotion was pretty much made up on the spot, and there were no financial deals or money exchanging hands. Either way, this sets a precedent, and I could see future Android releases carrying the name of other commercial sweets. Maybe we’ll see Android 4.5 Lemonhead in the future? The upcoming Nexus phone is also very exciting and I’m glad to see larger screen sizes perhaps becoming the norm for Nexus as well. Excited about KitKat? Let us know in the comment section below!