Photo credit: Google executive Sundar Pichai
Photo credit: Google executive Sundar Pichai

Google’s Android operating system crossed a major milestone today, clocking in with more than 1 billion device activations worldwide. The company marked the moment by revealing the next major version of the OS will be named Kit Kat (Yes, after the chocolate bar).

Sculptors this morning unveiled the new #AndroidKitKat statue outside Building 44 at the Googleplex, and launched, which promises to give away Nexus 7 tablets and Google Play credits inside specially marked Kit Kat packages.

Nestle’s Kit Kat division confirmed the news on Twitter, and later launched a smartphone parody video on YouTube.

Android’s rise to smartphone dominance is unquestionable. Nokia held nearly 40 percent of the smartphone OS market the day the world’s first Android phone went on sale, back in late 2008. Apple, BlackBerry, Motorola, HTC and others all held major footholds.

In less than 5 years, the smartphone market has just two players: Apple and Google. Microsoft bought Nokia, Google bought Motorola, BlackBerry has put itself up for sale and HTC makes Android-powered phones.

Earlier this year, a popular Android app maker estimated there were nearly 12,000 different Android devices in the market today, ranging from state-of-the-art mobile devices like the Samsung Galaxy, MotoX and Nexus 7, to basic phones and other consumer gadgets. Fragmentation inside the Android ecosystem remains a thorny issue for Google, as individual device manufacturers make decisions about when and how to roll out software updates.

Still, with more than 1 billion Android activations so far, the marketing opportunity for Nestle was huge. It’s still unclear how much money exchanged hands in the deal.

Google has traditionally named its major Android releases after desserts: Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Before this year’s partnership with Kit Kat, it was widely believed Google would call Android 4.4 Key Lime Pie.

Today’s announcement begs the question if other sweet marketing promotions are in the works. May we humbly suggest Android Lifesavers and Android M&Ms?