HTC and Google are collaborating again, new reports said, and the partnership could lead to a 2014 Nexus device release date involving any of the three - the second Nexus 10, the rumoured Nexus 8 and the third Nexus 7 build.
Pointing to fresh developments from Taiwan, where the HTC One maker is based, CNET reported that the Taiwanese device maker has secured a deal with Google, giving it the honour to put together a gadget that is simply described as "a high-end Nexus tablet."
The same report, citing Commercial Times of Taiwan as the source, indicated that no further details on the HTC-Google agreement were provided. Also when reached, an HTC representative downplayed the story and added that the company will not comment on rumours and speculations.
While short on the meaty details, the news still sparked further whispers on the already muddled subject of Nexus devices, leading to the following question: What are the exact product builds are coming out and when they will be arriving?
The Google partners too are on the spotlight as Android fans are eager to know which manufacturer will build the next versions of Nexus tablet models already in circulation.
Hogging the most attention is the Nexus 10 2, which blog reports since 2013 has identified with Samsung as the Galaxy device maker assembled the first edition. However, LG and Asus were floated too as the tech firms are no strangers to the Nexus brand having worked previously on the Nexus 4 and 5 for LG and the two Nexus 7s for Asus.
Now HTC, which created the Nexus One smartphone, emerged as a likely candidate.
Then there is the Nexus 8, supposedly the Nexus 7 replacement, but most likely the compact tablet is reserved for Lenovo on the strength of its yet-to-be-finalised acquisition of Motorola Mobility. The Chinese firm is also touted to take charge of the Nexus 6 geared for rollout this year.
As expected, however, no confirmations from Google or Lenovo were issued.
That paves the way for a possible third attempt on the Nexus 7. The main rationale for this is the first two tries failed to even match the high-end iPad Mini and the Retina-laden iPad Mini 2. Plus with Asus at the helm, the 7-inch Nexus was plagued with hardware issues.
So Google has decided that it is time for a Nexus 7 in premium finish and together with the Nexus 8, the vanilla Android would be more equipped to take on the industry leader iPad Mini, made of course by Apple.
And on its search for that high-end Android pedigree, Google was led to HTC, which last year won raves for its HTC One. Tech reviews labelled the handset as the best Android 2013 smartphone, earning raves for solid build, durability, beautiful body design plus power features.
With HTC handling the third Nexus 7 manufacturing duties, Google is hoping to finally create a worthy foe that could topple the iPad Mini.
Granting an HTC-made Nexus 7 3 will materialise this year, release date should be in the second half of 2014 in keeping with the release cycle Google has employed in the first two editions.