According to the site Tech Hog (bear with me), a Google employee just leaked what appears to be the next flagship phone for the Android platform. Apparently, this will be the first device to tout Ice Cream Sandwich, the unifying version of the OS which will bridge the gap between tablets and smartphones by bringing the Honeycomb paradigms to both form factors. That's important to think about when considering the photo above, which details a supposedly HTC-made phone with no hardware buttons, meaning Android phones will be losing their signature keys in exchange for a 3.0-style layout.

Now of course, that shouldn't come as a surprise, but what might be a minor surprise is that the leaker in question claims the company is readying both HSPA+ and CDMA versions of the device... the latter aimed specifically at Sprint. Given Google's recent coziness with the carrier on Google Voice and Google Wallet, and HTC's sudden bootloader shuffle, it's very possible that the embattled third-placer could become Google's partner of choice for its next major release.

Besides the possible cultural implications of this shift, the phone itself is said to be getting a makeover before launch (right now it looks a bit like an iPhone 3G), and will sport a front-facing camera.

Of course, this is all rumor, speculation, and good old fantasy talk, but you have to admit -- the pieces do add up. We're pounding the pavement for more info as we type, so stay tuned for forthcoming shocking revelations as well as revealing shocks.

Note: Upon closer inspection, there is definitely some Photoshopping in this picture. That doesn't necessarily make it a fake, but someone has clearly retouched the image for some reason. The plot thickens.

Via: BriefMobile / Source: Tech Hog