Google is said to have its own self-made smartphone out by the end of this year. It could even be the previously rumoured Google Pixel phone.
A report from the Telegraph cites sources that say the search giant is in talks with mobile network operators. It says that Google seeks to secure deals to sell its phones through carriers as well as - presumably - through its own direct channels.
This Google-branded phone will be different from the current Nexus phone arrangement, which allows manufacturers to have their brand name stamped alongside the Nexus moniker on the device.
It has been suggested in the past that Google's aim is too have more control over hardware, in order that its operating system can be better optimised and provide a consistent and reliable experience. If true, it's unlikely that we'll see anything other than Google's branding on the hardware.
With key technologies like Daydream VR and Google Assistant on their way out, it certainly seems a prudent decision by Google to get a better handle on the hardware side. Devices like the Pixel C tablet and Chromebook Pixel show that the company clearly knows how to make hardware that's attractive, well-made and unique, but we've not yet seen a phone with Google's design stamp on it.
In the past - with the Nexus phone series' - Google has partnered with a number of different manufacturers to release phones running a completely pure version of Android. In these arrangements, however, Google has reportedly been taking a 15 per cent cut of the RRP from online sales, leaving the manufacturers with low profit margins.
With so many Android OEMs struggling to make a profit generally, getting them to agree to take a cut as well as being forced to meet a strict set of hardware guidelines is a deal with little in it for them. This is perhaps why HTC is going to be the next Nexus maker, and why Google is looking at releasing its own smartphone hardware. HTC is having a tough time of late, and can't afford to turn down the opportunity to make a popular phone.
If the rumours of HTC-made Nexus phones, and today's rumour are one and the same, it could well be that although HTC is building the devices, they won't have HTC's name on them. Instead, Google is essentially using HTC as a contractor to build the phone that it has designed, rather than partnering with HTC to build a traditional Nexus.
Apart from the rumour that Google is making a Pixel smartphone, there's very little else that's been said about the device. The Telegraph says it will be released by the end of the year, which is roughly the same time it traditionally releases its Nexus phone updates.