In the next few days, do learn how to say, ‘Neyyappam’. This traditional ‘celebration delicacy’ from Kerala — a state of nearly 35 million lightly-clothed and mostly Left-leaning souls — could soon hit the big time if Google says yes to a massive campaign that’s suggesting Android N, become Android Neyyappam.
Bit of a background first. The version history of the Android mobile operating system follows a pattern: the first two were named Alpha and Beta and the others were named after confectionery — Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat and Lollipop and, Marshmallow. The noted exception was version 4.4, which was called KitKat, a chocolate brand. During his recent visit to India, CEO Sundar Pichai, of Google, took one prominent question — will Android name its next version after an Indian dessert? A stumped Pichai said he will consult his mother on this one.
Forward to this month and on May 18, Google went live with a link seeking suggestions from the world to help it name its latest version of Android. Thousands sent in their suggestions. But Kerala kicked it up a notch. Google received so many ‘Neyyappam requests’ that the name is now one of the most prominent named appearing on the site. The link closes June 8.
And what’s a Neyyappam? In Kerala, students get at least four for good marks, it’s a given when grandma comes home and is one of Lord Ganesh’s favourites when it’s South Indian on the menu.
But, for now, Neyyappam is serious pursuit. Many believe an Indian name for an Android OS version is likely given the competition in mobile OS. Google going desi will be a clever marketing ploy attracting more users in a country that already has over 60 million Android users. The government in Kerala is not far behind either. Kerala Tourism sees an immense marketing potential. “A Google click on Neyyappam will inevitably lead to Kerala,” said Kerala Tourism director U.V. Jose.
“We shall turn the local delicacy into a global campaign tool in the little time we have.” And like they are about many things, the Malayalis have a popular saying on the snack too: “Neyyappam thinnal randundu karyam (eating Neyyappam has twin gains).” A win for Google, and for Kerala? We’ll find out on June 8.