Google has officially named the next version of Android, which is due to be released this fall: Android 10. Breaking the 10-year history of naming releases after desserts, the company is bailing on providing a codename beginning with a subsequent letter of the alphabet (in this case, Q), which is the way we’ve been referring to Android up to now. This year is Android 10, next year will be Android 11, and so on.
After a quarter of quiet, the quintessence of Android’s brand has quickly changed without quarrel, resolving a quandary and quitting the quixotic quest to pull a Q dessert out of the quiver. Google won’t quaver on the decision to move away from desserts, which answers a quadrillion querulous questions about the names. Google has decided it is a quaint tradition that needed to be quite quashed — or at least quelled. Instead, the codename will be quarantined inside Google, so I have qualms and feel queasy about the quantity of quips that will queue up quoting the Android source code in an attempt to quibble that the dessert names still qualify as real. It all seems like a quagmire, but at least qualitatively, the new naming scheme is less quirky.
Alongside the new name is an updated logo for Android, one that Aude Gandon, global brand director for Android, says has a “more modern” wordmark. Importantly, it will always include the little green robot. “The robot is what makes Android special. It makes it human, fun, and approachable,” Gandon says.
Here’s the new logo, on the right of the image slider:
Going with a new naming scheme for the 10th version of Android makes a bit of sense; it’s a landmark release. Still, given how difficult it is to put a common dessert to the letter Q, I noted to Google’s Sameer Samat, VP of product management for Android, that it was awfully convenient that Google picked this release to switch up the naming scheme.
“We’re going to deal with that skepticism,” he says. Google’s actual reason for switching the naming, he says, isn’t that Q is hard, but rather that desserts aren’t very inclusive. “We have some good names, but in each and every case they leave a part of the world out,” he argues. Android is a global brand, used by more people in India and Brazil than in the US, so going with an English word for the dessert leaves some regions out.
Pie isn’t always a dessert, “lollipop” can be hard to pronounce in some regions, and “marshmallows aren’t really a thing in a lot of places,” Samat says. Numbers, at least, are universal.
Google will still make the traditional Android statue of the robot, but it’ll be of the number 10 instead of a dessert.
As for the new wordmark and logo, to my eye, it looks like the latest example in a long line of companies taking quirky wordmarks and turning them into blandified brands. It’s definitely been a trend in the past couple of years.
Gandon says that the changes were important to make the wordmark more accessible and readable — especially on smaller screens. “In all honesty, when we did the acid test of doing it in really small spaces [like a screen or phone boxes], the current lettering was really a challenge,” she says. Most importantly, the wordmark is no longer green; it’s black, which makes it much more readable in more contexts.
The other thing Gandon’s team did was change the robot subtly by moving its eyes down and tweaking its antennae. More importantly, they pulled some yellow tinge out of the green to make it more readable and also added some secondary colors to Android’s overall brand palette to help with accessibility.
Going forward, Android will be represented by more than “green and gray,” Gandon says. Only one of those new secondary colors is also one of Google’s primary colors — the blue. It was important that Google found a palette that wasn’t too tied to the company but also wouldn’t hew too closely to anything its major Android partners use.
As for what the Q in Android Q actually stands for, Google will never publicly say. However, Samat did hint that it came up in our conversation about the new naming scheme. A lot of Qs were tossed around, but my money is on Quince. While the official name of Android will just be Android 10, that isn’t stopping the Android team from creating internal codenames in alphabetical order. Samat tells me that Google’s engineers have already chosen the word they’ll use internally for Android R.
Would anyone like some Rabri?