MOUNTAIN VIEW: Google has announced that the latest version of its Android mobile system will be known as KitKat, named after the chocolate bar made by Nestlé, the Swiss food and drinks company.

KitKat will be the codename for Android 4.4, reported Marketing Week, and it maintains the technology giant's habit of naming each version of its mobile operating system after different types of snacks.

However, this is the first time Google has used an existing confectionery brand and the launch will be accompanied by a co-branding campaign.

More than 50m specially branded KitKat bars will be made available in 19 markets, including the US, UK, Canada and Brazil, over the next few weeks and buyers will be able to enter competitions to win prizes, such as the Nexus 7 tablet.

An Android mascot made out of KitKats has been unveiled at Google's headquarters in California and a Twitter profile, which features a KitKat-themed version of the Android robot, has been launched.

The co-branding exercise, which did not involve any exchange of money, is designed to build on the global appeal of both brands, although at least one analyst has sounded a note of caution.

Simon Myers, a partner at Prophet, the brand consultancy based in San Francisco, told the BBC that if a brand gets linked to another then it becomes associated with the other brand "for good or ill".

He said: "If that brand or business has some reputational issues that emerge, it would be naïve to think as a brand owner that your good name, your brand equity, would not be affected."

Patrice Bula, Nestlé's head of marketing, acknowledged there may be some risks, but insisted that "when you try to lead a new way of communicating and profiling a brand you always have a higher risk than doing something much more traditional".

The news coincided with Google's announcement that the Android operating system has hit 1bn activations, an increase of 100m since the last activation figures were disclosed in May.

Data sourced from BBC, Marketing Week; additonal content by Warc staff