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Google names new Android operating system after chocolate bar

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Gimme a break, Google. Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.

The tech giant, which is known for nick-naming its Android mobile operating systems for smartphones and tablets after desserts, has for the first time chosen a brand-name candy for version 4.4 that's expected to launch this fall: Kit Kat, the chocolate candy bar with the well-known "Gimme a Break" jingle. Kit Kat packaging will show Android's green robot mascot breaking a Kit Kat bar.

Financial terms weren't disclosed for the sweet deal between Google and Hershey Co., which makes Kit Kat. But the deal shows that naming a stadium or sponsoring a TV show can be seen as old school. The latest marketing craze is slapping your brand name on a tech product.

Google approached Hershey about six to nine months ago for permission to use the name, said Jennifer Podhajsky, vice-president of U.S. chocolate at Hershey, which licenses the Kit Kat brand in the U.S., while Nestle owns the worldwide brand.

Podhajsky said that Kit Kat's jingle is a good fit for people taking a break to look at their smartphones or tablets. She added that the deal appeals to Hershey because Android hits the sweet spot of Kit Kat eaters, who are typically between the ages of 18 and 34.

"Kit Kat consumers are young, vibrant consumers of candy and chocolate bars, and that's a nice match with Android," Podhajsky said.

The Kit Kat name was unexpected since tech pundits have speculated for months that the next operating system would be called Key Lime Pie. Marc Vanlerberghe, director of Android Marketing, said the name was chosen because Kit Kat bars have been a "favourite go-to snack among the team since the early days of Android."

The Android 4.4 Kit Kat system is expected to launch in October. The software is now running on more than 750 million smartphones and tablets throughout the world, making it the world's most widely used mobile operating system.

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