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(Pocket-lint) - Google's next Nexus smartphones won’t actually carry the "Nexus" brand.

According to Android Central, Google will ditch the Nexus branding for its upcoming, HTC-made smartphones, with the idea that it will market the duo under a different name and really focus on the Google brand instead. Keep in mind Android Police also said earlier this year that Google would ditch Nexus from the 5-inch and 5.5-inch devices, codenamed Marlin and Sailfish, respectively, and would instead use its own "G" logo.

Google usually only uses its brand name for software services, so the change would be a dramatic shift. And it's currently unclear why Google would go that route, though the report mentioned Google plans to give the HTC phones a special version of Android Nougat rather than the standard version of the latest Android, which always ships with Nexus devices. It's also unclear what makes this special version different.

Does this mean that Google is killing the Nexus brand? All we know for sure is that Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, said at the Code Conference in June that Google plans to become "more opinionated about the design of [Nexus] phones", adding that the company is hoping to add more features on top of Android on Nexus phones in the future. So maybe that's what Google is now doing with these upcoming HTC phones.

Android Central seems to think the end of Nexus is near, and that Google has begun to forge a new path in terms of phones that it helps develop to showcase both its design chops and mobile operating system. 

Writing by Elyse Betters.