It's been rumored and reported quite a few times already, however now a new source is popping up with relatively the same information. Leading many to believe that Google may in fact be dropping the "Nexus" name this year. However, it won't be confirmed until Google actually announces the devices – which are still widely believed to be made by HTC at this point, and announced in October. This new report out of Android Central states that the Nexus logo would be replaced with a "G" logo. However, there's no word on what they may call the devices just yet. These new phones are also expected to showcase the Google brand more, with HTC's logos being nowhere to be found on the new smartphones.
That's not all though. Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai noted earlier this summer at Recode's Code Conference, that they would be adding some software tweaks to their Nexus devices, and they would be "more opinionated about the design of the phones." Instead of shipping "vanilla" Android, these devices would see features that are not available on other smartphones. Something that we saw with the Google Now Launcher, when that launched. This lines up with earlier reports and leaks about the two upcoming Nexus devices, which included redesigned navigation buttons. This means that the version of Android 7.0 Nougat you see on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P today is not what you'll see on the upcoming smartphones being made by HTC.
This means that this fall will play host to the biggest shift that Google has made in terms of both hardware and software since the Nexus program launched in January 2010 with the Nexus One. Nexus devices have always had "vanilla" Android, and lately have had a few exclusive features that eventually made their way down to other Nexus devices. However, what has already leaked out in regards to these two HTC smartphones, shows that Google is making a major shift in terms of software, and these new features may not make it to Nexus devices or even stock Android devices. This could also be why Android 7.0 Nougat launched much earlier than new versions of Android have in the past – and without new hardware from Google.