Google Ditches Android’s Naming Tradition, Android Q to Be Called Android 10

Posted on August 22, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Android, Google, Mobile with 35 Comments

Google is moving away from its traditional naming convention for Android after years. If you have been following tech news at all, you are probably aware that Google’s new versions of Android come with the name of a dessert or sweet treats every year.

And at version 10 of Android, Google is now moving away from the naming convention. The company’s upcoming Android release, Android Q, will simply be called Android 10.

Google says the company wants to make the name of Android updates understandable across the world, and names of desserts weren’t the best way of doing that. And so, it’s simply switching to the version number for each release. “For example, L and R are not distinguishable when spoken in some languages. So when some people heard us say Android Lollipop out loud, it wasn’t intuitively clear that it referred to the version after KitKat,” the company wrote.

Google also stated that users who aren’t familiar with the naming convention — which is probably the majority of Android users — were finding it difficult to understand whether their phone is running the latest version. Version numbers are a really simple way of addressing that problem.

Along with the new naming convention for Android releases, Google is also rebranding the Android brand. The main “android” text has changed from green to black, and the logo itself now has the popular Android robot, in green. Google says the new logo is meant to improve accessibility, and the new set of color combinations will improve contrast.

Personally, I think this is a brilliant change. I have never really been a fan of the dessert naming convention — it was kind of exciting in the beginning, but it’s come to a point now where finding out the name of the next Android release isn’t really that exciting. Calling the latest release Android 10 is much more of a neat way of doing things, and this new brand identity is pretty slick, too.

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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Google Ditches Android’s Naming Tradition, Android Q to Be Called Android 10”

  1. jchampeau

    "Somebody think of a dessert that starts with X. Somebody. ANYBODY."

  2. Lordbaal

    Q is the 17th. letter of the alphabet. Not the 10th.

    • jgraebner

      In reply to Lordbaal:

      Android Pie was already version 9, though. There were a few releases that had names, but were officially just point releases: Cupcake and Donut were 1.5 and 1.6, Froyo and Gingerbread were 2.2 and 2.3, Jelly Bean was 4.1, and KitKat was 4.4.

      Also, Cupcake was the first named release. At least publicly, there weren't any "A" or "B" releases.

  3. Boris Zakharin

    Weren't there always version numbers? My phone's "about phone" screen shows "Android version: 8.1" without any reference to "Oreo." The dessert names were not necessarily in sync with major version releases anyway. 1.x had 4 different names. 2.x had 3. 4.x had 2.

    • wright_is

      In reply to bzakharin:

      Yep. Mine are on 9.1.

      There has always been a version number, but the next big update was always announced alongside some quirky name and giant statue outside Google HQ.

      Most users haven't a clue what version, whether number or name, their phone runs. It runs "Galaxy/Huawei/Oppo/Nokia" to most of them, or maybe "Android", but an actual version number? Outside of enthusiasts, nobody knows or cares.

      • CompUser

        In reply to wright_is:

        Mine is 7.0 (my carrier says that's the latest version), and there is nothing on the software information screen about any dessert name. I always thought the dessert names were code names for pre-release versions of Android, and that the actual release versions were just numbered. And I absolutely agree that most users don't have a clue, or care, what version of Android their phone uses. Or that they have a clue, or care, how much RAM the phone has. Most people I know think storage is memory. What they do seem to care about is texting, getting to Facebook (or other social media sites), and maybe taking pictures. They don't even seem to care that much about the quality of the actual phone part of their smart phones. Smart phone technology has already gone so far beyond what most people (enthusiasts not included) know about, care about, or need, that it's almost comical that they (the phone companies), keep racing to continue the crazy trend. But I guess they have to justify the ever increasing prices somehow.

  4. GetEdumated

    Read: Google couldn't get Nestle Quick to sign on as sponsors and couldn't come up with another acceptable dessert beginning with Q.

    It's too bad they couldn't just finish up the alphabet when they were so close.

    • bzero22

      In reply to GetEdumated:

      It could've easily been queso as well. Doesn't necessarily have to be Nesquick. But as I have also noted, after rhubarb (the most likely name if they kept it like that going into Andriod R) there's not a ton of options, maybe two with Spree and Twix if they could get back to back deals, otherwise it would have to be sugar cane or sushi before they would've had to strike up that Twix deal. That and they'd probably be running out of ideas anyway.

  5. Jorge Garcia

    Smart move but the Android name is already too tarnished. Well, to non-computer-loving people, anyway. Too many average Joes and Susans experienced (or still experience) an earlier flavor of Android running on sub-standard (cheap) equipment with inadequate RAM. Using older and/or under-powered Android devices means being very rigorous/religious about cleaning out your open Apps from memory as-you-go, and normal people just don't want to do that when an iPhone cleans it out "for you". Newer versions of Android are much, much better, but the bad taste is still in people's mouths. Also, Samsung sure as heck didn't help matters any by layering on laggy skins and duplicate apps for years. A lot of people will never understand (or care to understand) the difference between Samsung and Android. So the ideal thing would be to rebrand Android completely, but the genie is already kind of out of that bottle.

    • skane2600

      In reply to JG1170:

      I doubt that people who buy low-cost Android devices know anything about iPhone "cleaning". Many people who aren't techies still understand that 1GB of RAM isn't as good as 4 or 8. Low-cost products are a compromise and people know it.

      • Jorge Garcia

        In reply to skane2600:

        From my experience - and I have a lot of contact with regular folks all day long in both office and university settings - is that 90% of regular folks only know (or think they know) that Android phones stutter and hang while iPhones don't. They have little to no idea that it is happening because they have insufficient RAM. I'll agree with you that they probably attribute the lag-free iPhone experience more to "Apple Magic" than to the authoritarian RAM management ("cleaning") that Apple is uniquely able to employ.

      • Jorge Garcia

        In reply to skane2600:

        I honestly feel that only a small fraction of folks understand the RAM specification of the device they are buying at all, unless the salesperson went out of their way to truthfully explain to them why a "2" instead of a "1" is so much better. It is just an odd "storage?" number to most people - not nearly as important as the bigger number on the box (16,32,64) which tells them how many photos and videos will "fit". That part they do get. But it's becoming a moot point though because even budget Android phones no longer hang or lag too terribly. My point is that the damage was done to the name at the start and it's going to be a hard reputation to shake. Google will eventually call their official release PixelOS - watch.

  6. daf42

    I understand why Google have done this, but it just makes Android more boring. The desert names were quirky and interesting.

  7. jbinaz

    But Q isn't the 10th letter of the alphabet! ;)

  8. mrlinux11

    I guess 10 is the magic number Mac OS /Windows also stopped at 10 ?

    • codymesh

      In reply to mrlinux11:

      actually Windows ditched naming with Windows 7. It was a big departure for Microsoft when the codename for Windows 7 - also Windows 7 - became the final name.

      • longhorn

        In reply to codymesh:

        No, the codename for Windows 7 was Blackcomb. It was later changed to Vienna. The product launched as Windows 7 which might have been a reference to NT 6.1.

        • bzero22

          In reply to longhorn:

          @codymesh was referring to the actual release. Before that it was 95, 98, 2000, Milennium (or Me for short) followed by XP and then Vista. Windows 7 ended that by coming immediately after Vista. Otherwise you're on target - Blackcomb changed to Vienna but was still considered to be the 7th generation of the Windows platform. (And for sake of comparison, Longhorn changed to Vista but Vista didn't change further... and yes, 6 and 1 make 7 so there's at least some validity to the argument from a mathematical perspective. Get the picture?)

  9. Lordbaal

    "“For example, L and R are not distinguishable when spoken in some languages. So when some people heard us say Android Lollipop out loud, it wasn’t intuitively clear that it referred to the version after KitKat,” the company wrote."

    What? How can someone confuse lollipop, and kitkat. Give me a break.

    • captobie

      In reply to Lordbaal:

      " it wasn’t intuitively clear that it referred to the version after KitKat"

      If your language doesn't have the letters K or L in it, how would you know that Lollipop follows KitKat?

    • Eric Dunbar

      In reply to Lordbaal:

      "What? How can someone confuse lollipop, and kitkat. Give me a break."

      Spoken like a classic unilingual anglophone.

      Many languages don't have any letters resembling the English alphabet. In that case the ordering of the English alphabet is meaningless. Many people also have legitimate difficulties pronouncing some letters because they're not normally part of their language.

      You and I may be anglophones but the majority of the world speaks a language that doesn't even use a script based on the Roman/Greek alphabet. Android is a global technology.

      The one thing that is fairly widespread are Arabic numerals.

      I'm a geek. I actually pay attention to the silly nuances of Android of Mac OS X/macOS naming conventions and I don't ever bother using the names because it's a surefire way to exclude people.

      Numbers are pretty easy to understand. 2 comes after 1. 10 comes after 9. Does H come after J? Quick! I wouldn't be at all surprised if people were an order of magnitude slower in making correct comparisons like does Q come after S or H after J than deciding whether 2 comes after 1.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Lordbaal:

      Rorripop would have been next year's dessert, so I can see the confusion they are trying to avoid.

  10. JerryH

    Obviously this makes perfect sense on the one hand. On the other hand it is just another example of a tech company growing up and becoming less interesting as it ages.

  11. codymesh

    We kind of saw this coming when they decided to officially call the previous version "Android 9 Pie" (with the version number in it) and not have any Pie illustration in both in their marketing materials and on Android dot com.

  12. Tony Barrett

    I don't think anyone could actually come up with a desert starting with Q anyway. Is there one?

    What Google really want to do is avoid saying Android 10 'will be the last version of Android' unlike others who persisted with that dumb idea. Roll on Android 11!

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