Google's next mobile operating system is called Android KitKat and will appear on 50 million Kit Kat wrappers around the globe in the coming weeks, the digital giant and Hershey, the candy brand's United States distributor, revealed today. The companies forged a no-cash, publicity-focused agreement for the co-branding effort, according to multiple reports.
The development surprised many in the tech space, which had expected Google's next mobile OS to be called Key Lime Pie. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has customarily given Android iterations sweets-minded names, such as Cupcake in 2009. While Kit Kat is licensed to Hershey in the U.S., the candy brand is produced and marketed elsewhere globally by parent Nestlé—which ultimately forged the Google deal.
"We are proud and excited to have one of the world's leading mobile innovators pair up with one of America's favorite chocolate brands," Jennifer Podhajsky, vp of U.S. chocolate for Hershey, said in a statement. "Google's choice to name their next Android platform release Kit Kat brings together two well-known icons from pop culture and technology and gives the classic jingle of 'Gimme a Break' a whole new meaning in the tech world."
In addition, Hershey and Google are offering consumers the chance to win 1,000 Nexus 7 tablets, 150,000 Google Play credits worth $5 apiece and 20,000 coupons for eight-ounce bags of Kit Kat Minis. Starting Friday and running through Jan. 31, 2014, the giveaways will be advertised on Kit Kat packaging.
The co-branding arrangement appears to be the first of its kind in terms of blending software and a consumer-packaged item. And it shouldn't hurt Google's reputation with the sweet-tooth set.
Google's Android already garners 46 percent of the domestic smartphone OS market, besting Apple's iOS (38 percent), per eMarketer.