Google’s 5.3 Android version will be localized in 26 countries and regions
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Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President at Google. He oversees Android, Chrome, and Google Apps. Photo Credit: Maurizio Pesce / Flickr

In Israel, the update will be known as Mekupelet. Following its successful cross-promotion with Kit Kat, Google will partner with candy makers around the world

The rumors and speculations are finally over.  On Tuesday, Google announced that the next version of its Android operating system, version 5.3, will be localized, reflecting linguistic and regional differences for 26 locales. The 5.3 will have a lot of interesting new features as well as iron out some of the bugs that plagued earlier versions.  Like its predecessors, version 5.0 (Lollipop), 4.4 (Kit Kat) and 4.3 (Jelly Bean), 5.3 will also have a candy-based nickname.

Location, location

A handful of reports emerged in recent weeks about localized Android updates, but Google has finally confirmed the reports.

Each Android receives a sweet-based moniker, in ascending alphabetical order: Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Kit Kat, Lollipop.

Version 5.3 is no exception. But surprisingly, Google announced that this time, each version will have a localized name. At the bottom of Google’s announcement, which appeared on the company’s blog, Google listed the 26 countries and territories which will be the first to get a localized version.

Israel is among these, and the Android update for the Israeli market will be known as Mekupelet, in honor of the tasty chocolate treat.

Google’s partnership with candy makers began back in 2013, when Google struck what TechCrunch has described as a “bizarre licensing deal with” Nestle, the maker of Kit Kat. At the last minute, Google changed the name of its 4.4 version from Key Lime Pie, on the assumption that people outside the United States (and Florida?) are not familiar with the treat. Google says no money was exchanged in the deal with Kit Kat. Instead, Nexus 7 vouchers and Google Play credit were distributed in Kit Kat bars. And Kit Kat even issued a limited edition of Android-shaped bars.

Following on the heels of this success, Google has decided to partner with local candy makers in each country where the update is being issued.

In the United States, the update will be called Android M&M, in Britain Android Mars, in Germany and Austria Android Milka, in Argentina Android Mantecol, in Japan Android Meiji and in Romania Android Magura.

But that’s not all

But beyond the name, each localized Android 5.3 will have features unique to that region. In Spain, for instance, Google calendar will not schedule meetings during siesta. Britain’s version will include a “God Save the Queen” ringtone. Ireland will feature a pub overlay of Google Maps, while Thailand’s pre-installed browser will allow shoppers to haggle over prices on such sites as Amazon and eBay.

The German version will feature a clock that gives the time down to the hundredth of a second and even synchronizes with atomic clocks. And in Italy, the Waze app, which will for the first time come pre-installed, will feature a super-fast (follemente veloce) navigation option, which allows drivers to break speed limits, pass on the right and drive on sidewalks.

Android Mekupelet 5.3

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 5.28.08 PM

Photo Credit: Google

But Israelis need not feel deprived. According to Google’s Changelog, the updated version will have 314 unique Israeli settings, most of which will be simple bug fixes.

However, some are significant.

For instance, the minute the smartphone’s GPS detects that you are in a religious area (Bnei Brak, Elad and certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem), it will immediately turn off at the beginning of the Sabbath and reactivate the next evening. Waze will offer a feature directing you to the shortest line in the supermarket, while Google’s calendar will include a high holidays feature that postpones every task, email or meeting till “after the holidays.” Also, thanks to a new API, third-party apps like Instagram will be able to detect whether a food item you photographed is meat, dairy or parve. For meteorology nerds, a new widget on the Android’s home screen will display the water level of the Sea of Galilee.

All Android machines will be updated in the near future. Unlike the current fragmentation of the Android market, Google announced that all devices will get the update. So even if you have an old machine, a broken one, one that fell into the toilet, or even an iPhone, you can enjoy this April Fool’s joke.

*Note of disclosure: This was a carefully crafted April Fool’s joke. 

Simona Weinglass translated the original article from Hebrew.  

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