In the last weeks, Google has requested the community's help to name the next Android version. These are the only conditions:
The name has to start with the letter N
The name has to refer to a delicous, sweet treat
So let's see what ideas we can find!
A history of sweet, sweet names
Google's Android operating system has a history of sweet, sweet names. Starting with the release of version 1.5, the famous smartphone OS has used confectionery-themed code-names in alphabetical order, starting with Cupcake in April 2009 all the way to the currect version: Marshmallow.
With the next Android version on the horizon, Google has asked the community to help name its new baby.
But let's take a look at the previous names first and see if we can spot a pattern here:
Android version 1.0-1.1 – Base: Boring, bland and not a sweet name at all. It was a wise decision by Google to choose more appealing names for later versions!
Android version 1.5 – Cupcake: Laying the foundation of confectionery-themed version names for Android. A very American sweet made from dough.
Android version 1.6 – Donut: The follow-up to Cupcake sticks with the American theme and the dough base.
Android version 2.0-2.1 – Éclair: Let's take a look across the pond. A dough-based, sweet treat from France.
Android version 2.2-2.2.3 – Froyo: Back to the United States, but the first deviation from dough-based names. Frozen Yoghurt ventures into the realm of dairy-based names for Android!
Android version 2.3-2.3.7 – Gingerbread: A treat that is traditionally baked around the world and has a lot of history under its belt. Probably the most "mature" name for an Android version as opposed to the more modern and "cool" sweet names like Cupcake and Froyo.
Android version 3.0-3.2.6 – Honeycomb: It's the name of a toffee, the name of a cereal brand, and also a moniker for bees' storage units. This name stands out a little as its meaning is ambiguous and it can refer to several sweet treats.
Android version 4.0-4.0.4 – Ice Cream Sandwich: Another delicacy that is world-renowned, and the second dairy-based name for an Android version.
Android version 4.1-4.3.1 – Jelly Bean: A more traditional Android name with a strong American feel and a classic "sweets" theme. The second sugar-based name after Honeycomb. Nearly synonymous with the Jelly Belly Bean brand, but not quite.
Android version 4.4-4.4.4 – KitKat: Discovering new territories, KitKat is the first Android name which is unambiguously an established brand name, and also the first chocolate-based name.
Android version 5.0-5.1.1 – Lollipop: Going back to very general sweet names, the beloved Lollipop is a more "classic" approach to Android version names. It also follows the latest trend of using sugar-based sweets.
Android version 6.0-6.0.1 – Marshmallow: The current Android version has everything you might expect from an Android name: An American-themed, sugar-based, popular sweet which is universally known and appreciated.
So, what's next?
Google's quest for Android names from the community
Whether Google is having trouble coming up with a new name for Android N or whether they simply want to involve the community: on their website Help Name Android N they asked users to provide ideas for the next version's name.
Indeed, our research shows that there seem to be fewer sweet and confectionery-themed names starting with the letter N than, say, B, K or M. But we still came up with an extensive list of sweet name ideas for Android. And believe us when we assure you, it has been one of the most delicious research activities for a blogpost we have ever conducted!
The "Name Android N" website was adorned with discarded (bordering hilarious) pseudo-brainstorming results like Narshmallow, Nutmeg, Neyyappam, Noodles, Nuts + Nachos and Nectarines.
Unfortunately, the website only allowed you to enter a name idea to make your suggestion – no questions asked, no explanations provided. An although entries are closed as of yesterday, we'd still like to take a deeper look at the topic at hand a provide a more extensive approach, which is why we put our thoughts on Android N names into this blog post. May it serve as an inspiration to other name seekers!
Before we start with our list of possible names, we'd like to dismiss some options at the outset:
We don't like the idea of using trademark brand names, as this can present legal problems. So brand names like Nesquik, Nutella, Nut Goodie, NutRageous or Nerds are out.
We won't use any name ideas that could be perceived as insulting, for example racial slurs. Even if the origin of a sweet's name is harmless – as with the Hungarian chocolate-liquorice bar Negro – we think the potential upset this could cause is just not worth it.
Our name ideas for Android version N
So finally, let's take a look at the names of sweet treats around the world and check if they would be worth considering as a name for the next Android version! Here we go:
Nut cake is a beloved and very versatile type of cake with various different recipes around the world, from walnut cake to fruit and nut cake; from Christmas nut cake to chocolate nut cake. A good name for a product that comes in many varieties!
Nazook is an Armenian rolled sweet pastry with walnuts. Different spellings (Nazouk, Nazuk) and its relative obscurity make it less than a top choice for a name, though.
Nun's Puffs (or Nuns Farts) are a French dessert pastry which is pan-fried in lard and baked afterwards. Certainly a name to remember!
Nunt is a pastry originating in Jewish cuisine and it vaguely resembles nougat with dark forest honey, sugar and walnuts as its main ingredients. Unfortunately, the Urban Dictionary lists a second meaning for Nunt which is not G-rated.
Nutmeg cake is a sweet and spicy dessert from Armenia. It has a crunchy base and light cake topping. Unfortunately, the name is not distinctive enough to serve as a proper name.
Nut Wedges are a German baked good with shortcrust pastry, jam, marzipan and nuts, partly covered in chocolate and cut into triangles. As a German, personally I'd love to have the next Android version called "Nussecke".
Nougat is a family of confections made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts, whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped, candied fruit. The consistency of nougat is chewy, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and chocolates. There are three basic kinds of nougat: white nougat, brown nougat and Viennese or German nougat. It is one of our three top picks for the name of the next Android version.
Noghl are sugar-coated almonds, a traditional Iranian and Afghan confection. It is made by boiling sugar with water and rose water and then coating roasted almonds in the mixture. It sounds delicious but might be hard to pronounce for Westerners.
Nonpareils are a decorative confectionery of tiny balls made with sugar and starch. They are also known as "hundreds and thousands". Their colourful appearance evokes happy childhood memories – a good foundation for a brand name!
Nonnevot is a Dutch donut-type sweet made from flour, yeast, milk, salt, butter, brown sugar, and lard. It is named after the knotted shape of the pastry, resembling the knot on the back of a nun's tunic.
Norman Tart is a French shortcrust pastry-based variant of the apple tart which is made in Normandy. It is filled with apples, sliced almonds and sugar topped with creamy egg custard tart and then baked until the topping is slightly caramelised. Although it sounds delicious, the name itself is rather bland.
Neapolitan chocolate has its origins in Italy. They are square or rectangular pieces of chocolate, individually wrapped, and often used for promotional purposes .
Napoleonshat it a Danish marzipan-based cake, shaped like Napoleon's Hat and dipped in dark chocolate. Depending on the spelling, it could be misread, though.
Nasturtium cake is a Spanish cake made primarily with egg yolk and syrup, prepared in a water bath. It would make an interesting name, though it would probably lead to a lot of typos.
Nanaimo bar is a popular candy bar from Canada that consists of a wafer crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavored butter icing, which is covered in chocolate made from melted chocolate squares. It is one of our three top picks for the name of the next Android version.
Nice biscuits are coconut flavoured biscuits from the UK which are plain since they do not contain cream or jam. Yeah, and the name is plain as well – plain boring!
Nocciolini di Canzo are small Italian biscuits similar to dry Amaretti, made with hazelnut flour. As the name implies, they are typical of the town of Canzo. Non-Italian speakers would probably struggle with the pronunciation, though.
Nuomici are chinese sweet, glutinous rice dumplings with different fillings such as sweet red bean paste, black sesame paste, and peanuts. An unusual name with an exotic twist.
Nai lao is a traditional fermented milk drink that is popularly consumed in northern China. It is prepared by heating milk and adding sugar to it. It could be the first Chinese Android version name, as well as the first liquid name.
Nian gao is a Chinese New Year's cake prepared from glutinous rice. It is another of our three top picks for the name of the next Android version.
Namtan pan is a traditional Thai candy. It comes in many colours and shapes, such as monkeys, dragons, flowers, and fruit. It is easy to pronounce, exotic and has a nice backstory with lots of opportunities to create a beautiful logo based on the sweets.
Nata de coco is a chewy, translucent, jelly-like treat from the Philippines produced by the fermentation of coconut water. It does not stand out as a particularly original name idea, though.
NameRobot's top name picks for Android N
Well, this is an extensive list of possible names for the next generation of Android, don't you agree? So let's give you our top picks of Android N names:
The Safe One – Nougat: It's well-known, it's universally beloved with a worldwide tradition, and it comes in several varieties to cater to everyone's taste. Nougat is a famous staple sweet and is a worthy name to stand beside the likes of Donut, Gingerbread and Lollipop.
The Allrounder – Nanaimo Bar: While its origins can be traced to Canada and not the US, Google has already proven that it can work with international names. Nanaimo bars combine a lot of features into one sweet treat: a wafer base which reminds us of names such as Cupcake, Donut and Éclair; a custard middle-layer in line with dairy-based names like Froyo and Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as a chocolate top which beautifully compliments the KitKat version (the only chocolate-based name until now).
The Exotic One – Nian Gao: A Chinese classic New Year's treat, this sticky rice cake could serve as an ambassador for the wide but under-represented world of Asian sweets. With growing markets in the Far East, choosing a Chinese name could go a long way towards making people from outside the Western world feel like they are part of the Android community, too.
We are certainly looking forward to the naming decision that Google ultimately has to make. Hopefully they will let us know what factors were relevant in deciding which name to choose. And we hope they keep up the practice of involving the community in finding – and maybe even deciding on – a new name for Android versions to come.