It's been approximately two weeks since Google released the first developer preview of Android O, the latest major iteration of its ubiquitous operating system. The new build is offering a first look at a number of changes, tweaks, and additions the upcoming version of Android will bring to developers and users, and also confirms that the Mountain View-based tech giant is continuing to name major Android builds in alphabetical order. The Alphabet-owned company is also almost certainly continuing the tradition of naming significant Android software updates after desserts but has yet to reveal how Android O will actually be called. Cue massive speculation across the World Wide Web.
Google's problem with this year's Android build is finding a dessert or a sweet whose name not only starts with the letter "O" but one that is also instantly recognizable. Cupcake, Donut, Ice Cream Sandwich, Lollipop, Marshmallow – those are all names that not only denote sweets but denote ones that a majority of people are familiar with. Picking a name users will easily be able to recognize is important for helping them remember it, which is why Android 1.6 was called Donut instead of Dacquoise. Yes, the latter sounds (and some would argue tastes) exquisitely, but not everyone is familiar with French dessert cuisine. While some names like Cupcake and Lollipop were seemingly easy picks for Google, the choice wasn't so simple last year and it's even trickier this time around.
If the Mountain View-based Internet company is looking to name this year's Android upgrade after a name that isn't trademarked, it's choices are rather limited. "Oatmeal" fulfills the criteria of being instantly recognizable, but some would argue it's not necessarily a dessert. "Orange" is another name that users would have no trouble remembering, but Google has yet to name an Android version after ordinary fruit. Sure, we had "Ice Cream Sandwich" so we might get something like an "Orangesicle" or "Orange Juice," but the former isn't particularly catchy while the latter is just a drink. On the other hand, "Orelletes" ("Little Ears"), "Obbattu" ("Puran Poli"), and "Ozark Pudding" are all viable names in the sense that they're definitely desserts but they fall short in the popularity aspect in the sense that few people will instantly be able to visualize what they actually are. Additionally, Google naming Android O "Orelletes" would also require the company to break its tradition of always deciding on Android names that are written as singulars.
Faced with a lack of instantly recognizable yet generic desserts starting with the letter "O," Google might opt to once again find a commercial partner for its new major Android build like it found with Nestle for Android 4.4 KitKat. Following that assumption, the next iteration of Android might be called "Oh Henry" or "Oreo." The latter possibility seems like the most probable one seeing how Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Android recently took to Twitter to post a GIF of a giant and somewhat modified Oreo cookie that's rotating on a plate. Lockheimer's tweet was originally posted in February and seemingly implied Google might be partnering with Nabisco and Cadbury in order to deliver another commercial partnership like it did with Nestle and Android 4.4 KitKat back in 2013. It was later revealed that Google and Nestle's promotional partnership was actually negotiated relatively quickly, though that isn't to say all such collaborations are, so even if Google would like for the next version of Android to be called "Oreo," there's no guarantee the company will manage to make that happen.
Regardless of what the latest major iteration of Android is going to be called, more details regarding it will likely surface soon seeing how Google I/O 2017 is just around the corner. The company's annual developer conference is scheduled to take place from May 17th to May 19th, though it's improbable the tech giant will reveal Android O's official name before summer. Looking at Google's Android release pattern, the Alphabet-owned company traditionally announced the names of its Android builds simultaneously with debuting their third and often final developer previews, meaning we likely won't find out what "O" in Android O actually entails until July at the earliest.