When Google releases its next pure Android phones, they'll launch running Android 7.1 according to the latest leak. The news comes from @LlabTooFeR, a leaker known for revealing nuggets of HTC-centric information before it's confirmed. 

Perhaps notably, the tweet refers to the next phones as the Pixel and Pixel XL, rather than any form of Nexus, corroborating rumours that Google is shifting its hardware strategy this year.

As for Android 7.1, that's yet to be released by Google and is likely to be the major Android Nougat update that initially includes software elements and features exclusive to the two new phones. Most notably, Daydream VR. 

Daydream is almost certainly going to launch first on the two new Pixel phones, setting them apart from any devices currently running Android 7.0 Nougat, or any device that's being updated between now and when the Pixels are announced. 

There have been rumours for months claiming that Google was turning to HTC to build its next stock Android phones this year. Likewise, speculation and inside information seemed to suggest that HTC wouldn't be a Nexus partner manufacturer, but used more as a contractor to build Google's hardware designs.

That's significant, because it means we're unlikely to see HTC's branding on the devices, and we won't see the familiar Nexus moniker stamped anywhere either.

The Pixel branding has so far been used for Chromebooks and a tablet of Google's design. Launching a Pixel-monikered phone would certainly help tie all of the search giant's hardware together. It is worth noting that Chromebook Pixel and Pixel C haven't exactly sold like hot cakes, so it'll be interesting to see if the more in-house effort on the phone has a negative or positive impact.