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Android 10's name is boring, unimaginative, and a step in the right direction

Ever since the release of Android 1.5 Cupcake back in 2009, every subsequent update for the OS has had a tasty dessert name to go along with its numerical position — some of my favorites being Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Pie, and the classic Froyo.

These dessert names have been a staple of the Android brand for nearly a decade, and leading up to each new release, part of the fun is guessing what treat name Google's come up with. We've been painstakingly brainstorming what in the world Android Q would be called, but last week, Google dropped quite the bombshell with its announcement that Q's official name would just be "Android 10". From this point forward, Google and Android are done with the dessert names.

This came as quite a shock, and a lot of longtime Android users are (unsurprisingly) not happy with this decision. While I fully agree that the updated naming scheme isn't nearly as fun or playful, I also think it's a big step in the right direction for the public image of Android as a whole.

Everything about the new name is easier to understand.

As soon as Google announced the name-change, the first thing I thought of was updates.

To you and me, it's obvious that Android Pie is newer than Oreo and that Marshmallow is a few years old at this point. To the average Joe, however, those names mean nothing. How's a normal person supposed to know the differences between OS updates if they're classified by dessert names? Oreo to Pie means nothing, but Android 8 to 9 is clear and easy to understand.

Android 10 is this year's big update, and in the years following, we'll have Android 11, 12, 13, etc. By all accounts, that's much clearer than having even more dessert names for people to keep up with.

If we look back at Android Pie, the writing was kind of on the wall for this shift in branding. Prior to the Pie update, Android's version numbers had an accompanying "point" to go along with them — such as Android 8.0 Oreo, 7.1 Nougat, 4.2 Jelly Bean, and so on. Last year, it was simplified ever-so-slightly to Android 9 Pie — no dot or decimal to be found.

While not nearly as drastic of a change as axing the dessert names, it was a sign that Google was eager to start simplifying how it markets Android.

It's too early to tell how big of an impact this shift in branding will have for the way "normal" consumers see and understand Android, but at the very least, Google's making the right steps to help people have a better relationship with the operating system.

With the simplified naming in place, it's now going to be up to Google to clearly communicate to its users what's included with new software updates, when they can expect them, etc. This is something Apple does an excellent job with for iOS, and for Pixel devices at least, Google's now in a position to better copy Apple in these regards.

However, there's still the matter of OEMs and custom Android interfaces. As shiny as Android 10 and its new logo might be, I don't envision this having much of an impact on Samsung, LG, Huawei, and other phones with heavily-skinned variants of Android.

That's a bummer considering Google's Pixel line holds such a small percentage of the smartphone market, but then again, that's not something a new logo and name will change — it's an entirely different can of worms that Google needs to figure out at a later date.

What Android 10 does represent, however, is Google acknowledging Android's maturity as a platform and making the necessary changes to promote it as a clean, simple, and easy-to-understand operating system. Considering that some people in this world as are so petty as to not date someone due to the phone that they use, anything to give Android a better image is for the better.

Dessert names were fun, but I'm far more excited to see what the next ten years has in store for Android and its new look.

Android 10: Everything you need to know!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

31 Comments
  • We all have to stop making fart jokes and move out of our parents basement eventually.
  • You would think farts would stop being funny at some point. But after 36 years, it's still funny.
  • Yeah, the dessert names were starting to get hard to come up with so it makes sense to end it at this point. They can do away with the other half-assed reasons they are giving though. The everyday person doesn't care either way and most likely will have no clue which number is the most current so the numbers will be just as meaningless. The only way the average person would understand would be if the number included the year or something very clear. Otherwise it is just a number. Anyone else think the new Android version will be called Android X?
  • I once read somewhere that 0% of women find farting funny. However, as a father of 5 daughters I know better. If we were all sitting around the living room watching TV and one of them let loose a bell ringer the whole group dissolved into laughter. They didnt find it so funny if Dad did it.
  • Super cool story bud...
  • Yeah, I would have preferred Quaaludes or Quantum...but is the name really the most important aspect about this new OS?! Applesuck has been naming it's joke of an OS ...IOS for what...more than a decade now? Doesn't really matter does it? Same for Microsoft-in-the-head and BlackHasBeenBerry... Android 10 might sound boring, but the system wide dark theme, gestures (which more resemble BB10), improved app permissions and a few other goodies are far more interesting to me than its namesake. Throw in some improvement to battery optimization and a few tweaks to the sound and I'll be in my happy place, curled in the fetal position with a brand new pacifier to chew on...
  • It's cute the way you think your little names are clever. I guess I used to do the same thing...in elementary school.
  • Cool names, little boy...
  • Go troll somewhere else....
  • Ohhh my! How sweet!!!! The Three Nitwits are real!!! It's Moe, Curly and Dingleberry! And no, I'm not thinking about any of you at all...in elementary school or otherwise. You are not that important... I only replied out of concern! If my comment irritates you gents, there is something you can do about it. Therapy. Try it! Now you guys have yourselves a good day.
  • Had a great day, thanks
  • No... I'll troll here and you'll like it
  • I think that was directed at me. But thanks.
  • I guess they are just in the process of evolving past the naming of OS updates. I'm sure they were having to pay rights fees depending on what they named the update. Kit-Kat, Oreo, etc. Must have cost some dough. Of course Google has deep enough pockets. But the parent company Alphabet might have a simple uniformity in mind.
  • Well first off, it doesn't matter, at all. And second off, what choice did they really have, between 10 and inventing a new Q dessert.
  • Was hoping for Qi Lime...
  • I always thought of the dessert names as development code names not official android names. If I look on my phone it'll tell me what version number of android I have, not what code name.
    The same with mac os code names.
  • But, if you repeatedly tap on the Android version button, it usually shows what letter the OS version is.
  • Good riddance. I never understood the furor around it.
  • Same here. And I always found it difficult to take any of that seriously, seeing how childish it is. "My phone's running Android Pie, hee hee!" It's about time it grows up.
  • The clarity point is compelling, but does Joe/Jane Average care that much about which release of what OS is on ANY computing device they own? They care about the device working reliably and/or being blingy enough to impress friends, family, neighbors, fellow employees and random strangers on the street. The Android version names were always for we the enthusiasts, thus I'm sad to see yet another bit of geeky fun being taken away by an increasingly staid and monolithic company. Oh Android 10! You'll always be Android...Quince Tart (?) to me!
  • Exactly. People seem to forget that we are the hard core fans. However, for the regular people who make up the largest portion of the individual purchasing these devices, they don't care, and they don't need to be confused with things like this. It shows Android is maturing and I for one like it. I love my Pixel 3 XL and can't wait for the Pixel 4.
  • The definition of mobile insanity is upgrading your phone annually. Oh, since at least 2017.
  • Agree completely. The names were fun for us.
  • They should have started naming them after sex moves/related. Q for Quickie!
  • I don't like quickies, but don't mind the spoon position. Most girls like the dragon position after that, but D would be out of sequence, lol
  • Haha...i hear you brother!
  • Numbers are more professional, and boring. Being mature is good thing, but I don't want to be "old" in my thinking.
  • What will Google do when Apple changes to Xi?
  • Android 2019, Android2020, Android2021, etc is the clearest naming system for all levels of mobile literacy. Perhaps the better question is whether or not annual mobile OS changes are really necessary? I'm thankful Samsung gives the option to completely disable Gesture Navigation.
  • What's the time android 10 Will be available for Xiaomi a2 lite