Google Gives up Sweets: New OS Is Just Called Android 10


Say goodbye to pie and lollipops, because Google’s mobile platform is going on a diet. Since 2009, Google has gifted each major iteration of its Android operating system with a dessert-themed name. The names have progressed in alphabetical order since the release of Android Cupcake, which was followed by Donut, then Eclair, then Froyo, all the way up to this year’s Pie. But with the upcoming launch of its latest mobile OS, that reign of sweetness comes to an end.

The operating system currently known as Android Q has been in public beta since March. There has been much online speculation about what Q-themed dessert Google might use as the official name—Quindim! Queen’s cake! Quiche!—but a Google announcement today made it clear that it won’t be any of those. In fact, there won’t be a name at all. The new name of Android’s OS will be… (everyone’s doing a drum roll, right?) … Android 10. Womp womp.

“It was always hard to find a name that was truly relatable.”

Android communications manager Kaori Miyake

The new name isn’t very creative, but it sure is simple. Google says that the decision to drop the sugary moniker was made out of concern for inclusivity and accessibility.

“We heard feedback over the years from users that the names weren’t always intuitively understandable by everyone in the global community,” says Kaori Miyake, communications manager for Android at Google.

Android is distributed worldwide and runs on over 2.5 billion devices, so naming every release after an American dessert is going to leave some people in the dark. After all, not everyone on the planet is lucky enough to know what froyo is. And just consider the plight of the poor Kiwis and Brits who think of pie as a savory meat-based pastry and not a sweet, bread-encased confection.

“Marshmallows are not really a popular treat everywhere in the world,” Miyake says. “It was always hard to find a name that was truly relatable.”

The fact that the names follow the order of the English alphabet doesn’t make it easier for non-English speakers to decipher them either. If your alphabet doesn’t go A-B-C—and a great many do not—there’s no easy way to keep track of whether Honeycomb came before or after Jelly Bean and KitKat.

Another update Google is making for the sake of accessibility: While the green robot will stick around, the “Android” wordmark logo is changing from green to black. This change will make it easier for people with visual impairments to read the word, the company says. Google also published a new set of highly contrasted colors for the Android brand that should improve legibility in all the places the logo appears.

Sweet Emotion

If you’re thinking they just skipped the letter Q because it’s a tough one to match with a confection, you should know that Google has done away with Android’s fun dessert names for good. From Android 10 into the foreseeable future, the company says it plans to stick with a numbers-only naming convention.

“What comes after 10 is 11,” Miyake says.

Android 10 is slated for general public release “in the coming weeks.” A more specific timeframe has yet to be announced.


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