All the Nexus 6Ps

It's been a pretty wild day for Google hardware and software rumors. Aside from Chromecast Ultra, "Andromeda" OS and a possible next-gen Pixel in 2017, there's now a report suggesting that despite Google moving to Pixel for this year's phones, the long-rumored Huawei/Google tablet will actually use the Nexus brand.

9to5Google reports that the Google plans to "launch" the rumored Android-based Andromeda OS on a Huawei-built, Nexus-branded slate. The outlet doesn't claim 100 percent certainty over the branding, but states that it's heard the name from multiple sources.

The HTC/Pixel deal would appear to be a classic ODM arrangement — different from a Nexus partnership.

Keeping the Nexus brand around for a tablet while Google's phones (and the previous Google tablet) are Pixels might seem counter-intuitive, but it's not impossible that the Nexus brand could live on, at least in the short term. The Pixel brand has always been Google's, and with the new phones being referred to as "made by Google," it looks likely that the arrangement with actual manufacturer HTC is a traditional ODM (original device manufacturer) setup. Essentially, HTC just handles the design and manufacturing of Google's phones to Google's spec — in exchange for money, which HTC badly needs. That's a bit different to how the Nexus program works, where the manufacturer shares the limelight with Google, and neither party really makes any money.

In that context, the idea of Huawei making a Nexus tablet, not a Pixel, looks a bit more credible. For Huawei, Nexus is a prestige project — a way to spread their brand in the West, in particular the United States. A Pixel ODM agreement wouldn't satisfy that need, whereas another Nexus certainly would. (The situation is the opposite of HTC's, where the financial incentive of being Google's ODM outweighs the loss of brand exposure.)

Crazier still is the possibility of this Nexus tablet being a launch device for Andromeda, the rumored Android-based, PC and tablet-centric OS reportedly shipping in 2017. Given the timings involved, it might be surprising to see Andromeda on the tablet, as opposed to plain old Nougat. It's also possible that the tablet might arrive with Nougat before becoming one of a handful of devices to get an Andromeda preview build ahead of the rumored 2017 launch. (It's possible we'll see it at Google's October 4 event, but by no means certain.)

As for how things play out in future years, that's anyone's guess. The rumors surrounding Andromeda, if true, will likely significantly shake up the Android tablet scene.

So when might this new tablet, Nexus or otherwise, break cover? Prolific Evan Blass has previously said that Google-branded, Huawei-built slate will be out "before the end of the year." That makes Andromeda out of the box appear less likely, but who knows. We're into new, crazy, uncharted waters when it comes to Google devices.