Google announced two large design changes to its Android brand Thursday. It's doing away with dessert-themed names for its operating system and is also debuting a new logo that prominently displays Android's iconic mascot for the first time.
Since 2009, Android has named its operating systems after snacks – some brand-name such as “KitKat” and “Oreo” – while others have carried more general delicacies such as “Marshmallow,” “Gingerbread,” “Nougat,” “Pie” and “Jelly Bean.”
Now the company will simply use numbers to identify what version of Android a person is using, starting with “Android 10.” The tradition of naming Android's OS after tasty treats was “a fun part of the release each year externally,” Sameer Samat, VP of product management at Android, says in a blog. “But we’ve heard feedback over the years that the names weren’t always understood by everyone in the global community.”
Google says the changes will roll out in the coming weeks.
Tom Edwards, chief innovation officer at agency Epsilon, says that "although the dessert names and the subsequent tie-ins to different snack brands was charming, it was difficult for consumers to track changes from one version to the next.” He adds: “Moving to a number-based system gives visual cues on the current version while also building urgency to upgrade.”
Barbara Sullivan, founder of brand agency Sullivan, says aligning with specific brands such as “KitKat” or “Oreo” is a "risk because they are attaching themselves to brands whose reputations and perceptions are not under their control and who might not be consistent with Google’s brand reputation.”
“Using desserts in general is also a risk because of regional tastes and preferences,” Sullivan says, adding that “Google is better off relying on its own brand strength. This new brand ID is a good example for other tech companies to consider the human element in portraying their brand.”