In sensible, functional terms, it's probably the least important thing about a new version of Android. Yet each year, there's intense speculation around what the new nickname of the next release will be. Google — including prominent Googlers like Hiroshi Lockheimer — play into the hype, teasing fans with cryptic confectionery references. The result is a predictable crescendo of hype in the month running up to the launch of each new version. Normally, by the time the final developer preview drops, we know the nickname.
Yet this year, there's been no Oreo or Oatmeal Cookie or Ontbijtkoek announcement — which, admittedly, could mean just about anything. Maybe Nabisco is driving a hard bargain, and that Android Oreo deal is taking a bit longer to hammer out. Maybe Google wants to make a bigger splash when the final version of O drops, likely later in August.
Or maybe, just maybe, the days of Android "sweet treats" are over, and the animal era has begun, starting with Android 8.0 Octopus.
The new (and presumably final) Android O Easter Egg shows a somewhat creepy physics-equipped polygonal cephalopod. Sure, Android O is version 8.0, and octopi are well known for their eight tentacles. But perhaps there's more to it than that.
Google is running out of letters, desserts and time.
Once Android version letters start venturing further into the back half of the alphabet, it'll be near impossible to come up with new sweet treats. If there's no Oreo deal, the tepid Oatmeal Cookie is about the only option for O. Android P could easily be Pancake or Popsicle, but Q? U? Google will be forced to seek out increasingly esoteric desserts as we reach the end of the decade.
Moving over to the animal kingdom would solve this problem, and also give Google more interesting options when it comes to cutesy branding and statues, both of which have been a little stale since the Lollipop era. The current Android lawn statue sitting outside Building 40 of the Googleplex is a boring old Bugdroid standing on a triangle of nougat. Who wouldn't love to see that replaced with a giant robot octopus?
Apple famously named OS X releases after big cats, until it ran out of felines and moved onto
Sea Lion Mavericks. Perhaps it's time for Google to do the same, and let Octopus prepare the way for Android 9.0 Panda, Android 10.0 Quokka and Android 11.0 Rhinoceros.
Or we can wait another five years until the dessert train finally runs out of steam with Android 13.0 Upside Down Cake.
Your choice, Google.
We should know what Android O in all its crumbly or tentacly goodness is actually called by late August. Keep it locked to AC for the latest on this highly important, non-trivial development.