KitKat: Android doesn’t “Take a Break”

In a shock announcement which took the world off guard, Google - perhaps strategically - revealed the name of their upcoming Android release as ‘KitKat’.

The famous Nestlé chocolate bar with the slogan “Take a Break, Have a KitKat” will surely benefit from this increased publicity - and what publicity it is. Naturally, many people assumed this was a clever marketing strategy by Nestlé. Then the iconic statue went up outside Google HQ.

It’s hard to tell the size of the upcoming update; it’s strange. Technically it’s a “4.4” release, but with a brand-new name. If you remember; 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 all carried the “Jelly Bean” moniker. Playing by the rules, you’d expect a major release to go by 5.0 – maybe Google just don’t like rules.

Browsing to the website – under KitKat – it mentions: “our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.”

This should shout confirmation of recent rumours; Android will be made lightweight enough to run on low-spec hardware, making it “available for everybody” (and even more buttery.)

But I’d like to look more in-depth at this, perhaps it’s just my own hopes – but nonetheless.

One of the biggest complaints I hear when I ask the general consumer why they don’t switch to Android is “I don’t like the way it looks.” For the most part, I see their point. Google offer great functionality but the UI is skeletal – built to be skinned by manufacturers, or customised by the user.

The general consumer wants an experience which is approachable out the box, say, iOS.

Google has been putting a huge focus on consistent design recently, really exciting stuff. It’s not just the clean “Card”-like UI found in products such as Google Now; but the attention to little details such as the fading minimising of videos in the latest YouTube app.

A great design which matches the quality of Google’s latest products is almost a certainty; I’ve predicted it (albeit calling it Key Lime Pie – oops) since the start of July. This would really make Android “available for everybody.”

Whilst I’m fairly certain on that theory, my next – I’m aware – is very hopeful. But I’m intrigued by the version numbering/naming system happening here.

So, we went; 1.5 – Cupcake > 1.6 – Donut > 2.0 – Eclair > 2.2 – Froyo > 2.3 – Gingerbread > 3.0 – Honeycomb > 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich > 4.1 - Jelly Bean > 4.4 – KitKat.

Minor .x iterations with new names have happened previously - but with the very next version. Jelly Bean has had three minor .x releases, and is set to have a new one (yet under a different name.)

I think, 4.4 is a name-worthy release bringing Android up to where Google wants their mobile platform design and performance-wise; readying 5.0 for a new venture, or at least something big.

Google has expressed their wish to make Android available on as many platforms as possible; the only place it’s not found is the desktop. You may be thinking, ‘Google has Chrome OS for that’, and ‘Google has said they have no plans to bring Android to desktop’ – but...

Ubuntu recently attempted by fundraising their ‘Edge’ device on Kickstarter; this had incredible interest for the unique concept of a phone which could hook up as a full-desktop. It failed, but only due to the exceptionally high funds required – it still broke records.

Did I mention Ubuntu also runs on Android phones?

Sure, Google may not bring Android to the desktop – but maybe, just maybe – they could bring Chrome OS to Android, hidden underneath; for a desktop experience anywhere. That would warrant a 5.0 ‘Lion Bar’ release.

“Take a Break” I’m sure you’re saying - but, a guy can dream.

What do you think of Google’s Android “KitKat” announcement? What features will we see?

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