Android, Google's popular mobile operating system, is about to get an upgrade. This presents a peculiar opportunity, for those who care about these things, to leave an indelible mark in the annals of technology.
Google is crowdsourcing names for the next version of Android. During its I/O conference this month, it invited users to help name the latest version. Android nomenclature has, since its third release in 2009, followed a confectionary theme in alphabetic order. So far there have been Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow. It's now the turn of N, and Malayalis are smacking their lips in anticipation.
A name suggested by users, which gets the most number of votes, will what Android N be finally called, although Google could well go with another name. While initially Indians went berserk suggesting everything from Bengal's 'narkol naru' to Maharashtra's favourite 'Nankhatai', the excitement lasted for just a few days and soon fizzled out from Facebook and Twitter. It was clear that Nankhatai or Naru was not going to get anywhere close to winning the race.
However, the Malayalis had a different strategy up their sleeves. A favourite Malayali snack--Neyyappam--was also one of the names suggested during the initial social media frenzy following Google's announcement. However, unlike their peers from other states, Malayalis were determined to give the race an earnest shot. The result--Neyyappam has pride of place on the site Google runs for the naming contest. While Google hasn't said anything on the matter, for many, this is sufficient evidence that Neyyappam is leading the race. Malayalis are perhaps also pinning hopes on the fact that even if no one else in Mountain View, California, might have ever heard of Neyyappam, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, a native of Tamil Nadu, will certainly know the snack--although of Kerala origin, it is popular in Pichai's home state and Sri Lanka as well.
For those unaware of what Neyyappam is, here's what professionally made Neyyappams look like.
Good homemade Neyyappams may look like this.
It's a deep fried snack made from rice flour, jaggery and ghee.
A resolute campaign by Malayalis everywhere seems to have propelled Neyyapam to within striking distance of global familiarity. Given that Android is India's most popular operating system, and due to the numbers, among its largest markets, an Indian snack would be entirely appropriate as the name for the new version.
Silicon India reports that Twitter handles have been created to support the movement, apart from a dedicated website. However we found that @AndroNeyyappam doesn't have too many followers. But the Twitter handle does direct a visitor to a website which provides the voting link and urges people to submit Neyyappam as a suggestion for the next version of Android.
However, it is actually #AndroidNeyyappam which seems to be doing the job for Neyyappam. Tweets with the hashtag have flooded the micro-blogging site.
Some fans of the snack have even created logos to support the 'movement'. Here's a sample:
"Apparently, Bangalore based Android user and PHP developer Arun Kumar initiated the stir which has become more of a trend in social media. Although Google reserves the right to pick the final name, it appears to have felt the waves given a sticker with bold letters ‘Neyyappam’ stands tall on the official page for submitting suggestions. Judging based on an analogue perception it could be predicted that ‘Nuts+Nachos’ and ‘Navy Bean’ are other suggesting gaining support," reports Silicon India.