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Ice Cream Sandwich, Jaunty Jackalope, and other bizarre code names

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(Read caption) Ice Cream Sandwich has a tasty ring to it. But do Google's Android names outwit Apple and Ubuntu?

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Ice Cream Sandwich, officially known as Android 4.0, is the future of Google smart phones. The company has said very little about this update – they've not even nailed down a release window. But even with all these details up in the air, word has it that the Android team is already working on its next OS. They call it Jelly Bean.

See a pattern here? Google has labeled each of its Android updates after a tasty treat – and in alphabetical order, no less: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and the imminent Ice Cream Sandwich.

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(What do you think will come after Jelly Bean? Key Lime Pie, maybe? Too bad Klondike Bar is copyrighted.)

When it comes to code names, Android's system is one of the more charming and most strictly adhered to. Plenty of companies simply spitball cool sounding words.

Take HTC's series of Android phones: Magic, Desire, Droid Incredible, Wildfire, Aria, Evo 4G. Good names, sure. They're evocative. But there's no cohesion.

Or, consider Ford. The automaker has dubbed the Excursion, Explorer, and Expedition. Yet Ford deviates from its naming scheme all the time. Plus, it's more alliterative than thematic.

That's not to say Google is alone. Some companies land on excellent code names concepts and stick to them. Here are five of our favorite. Share your top picks in the comments.

Apple's Mac OS X – named after big cats – Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion.

Mozilla's Firefox – chosen (internally, at least) after national parks – Bon Echo, Gran Paradiso, Shiretoko, Namoroka, Tumucumaque.

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Intel's chips, platforms, and CPUs – reminiscent of trails – Bonetrail, Skull Trail, Wolfdale, Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge.

Ubuntu OS – picked as whimsical animals – Warty Warthog, Hoary Hedgehog, Breezy Badger, Dapper Drake, Edgy Eft, Feisty Fawn, Gutsy Gibbon, Hardy Heron, Intrepid Ibex, Jaunty Jackalope, Karmic Koala, Lucid Lynx, Maverick Meerkat, Natty Narwhal, Oneiric Ocelot.

Google's Android OS – listed alphabetically as desserts – Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and (reportedly) Jelly Bean.

For more on how technology intersects daily life, follow Chris on Twitter @venturenaut.

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