Google takes the fun out of new Android versions

Once a year, everyone used to gather around and have some fun guessing the name of the next Android, but Google is being a bit of a buzzkill with a refresh naming the next edition ‘10’.

Naming Android updates after deserts and tasty treats was a geeky quirk which brought a bit of sunshine, albeit for a short period of time. It is up there with the URL for the website of parent company Alphabet (abc.xyz), or the first doodle being of ‘Burning Man’ because that was where most of the office were on August 30, 1998.

But Google had to kill the fun.

“This naming tradition has become a fun part of the release each year externally, too,” Google said in a blog entry. “But we’ve heard feedback over the years that the names weren’t always understood by everyone in the global community.

Perhaps this is the end of ‘fun’ at Google as the company becomes increasingly corporate. Just like the removal of the ‘Don’t be evil’ clause in the company’s corporate code of conduct, perhaps this is a sign Google is growing up and the internal workings of the business will be more ‘appropriate’ for a company of its stature and influence.

There is of course a logical explanation for the move, but it is not as fun.

In some countries around the world, ‘L’ and ‘R’ are indistinguishable, while some deserts are not universally popular. For example, a pie is not thought to be a sweet treat everywhere, while the marshmallow would baffle some (For the Brooklyn Nine Nine fans out there, ‘what is this glutinous monstrosity in front of me’).

“As a global operating system, it’s important that these names are clear and relatable for everyone in the world,” the blog states. “So, this next release of Android will simply use the version number and be called Android 10. We think this change helps make release names simpler and more intuitive for our global community.”

Fortunately, the team is not ditching the friendly robot which so many people associate with the Android brand. It’s getting a bit of a facelift, but here to stay (hopefully!).