If you've been paying attention to Android rumors for the past month or so, you know that at this point it's a fait accompli that HTC will make two Android Nexus phones this year. It started (as it usually does) with some Chinese sites, was further confirmed (as it usually is) by Evan Blass, and finally today Android Police (which has been on fire with accurate Android leaks for some time now) has weighed in with some codenames and informed speculation.
Here's what's most solid: Blass says that two Nexus phones, "internally dubbed M1 and S1," will be made by HTC this year. We also have Android Police claiming to know, from sources, their Google codenames: Marlin and Sailfish (Pointing out, of course, that those words just happen to start with M and S). And last but not least, the ever-popular rogue mention of a device deep in some publicly available Android Open Source Project code.
To be clear, calling all of the above a "rumor mill" is slightly unfair — these are sources with a good history of getting it right. Instead, the funny thing about Android rumors is that as today's new details came to light, the reaction from everybody was basically a collective ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . Last week, Android Central wrote about the HTC Nexus like it was basically a done deal. Before that, the HTC Nexus phones were written about like everybody just knew they were coming and the only question was whether or not the company had somehow managed to score a three-year deal to make Nexus devices (which, while I won't dismiss out of hand, I will lol at).
HTC is building a pair of Android N devices for Google internally dubbed M1 and S1 #nexus— Evan Blass (@evleaks) April 27, 2016
Why all this confidence? Hard to say — except that little bits of evidence tend to add up over time. And, more to the point, there's a general consensus that after years of making decent phones that not very many people buy, it's HTC's turn to try its hand at a Nexus.
HTC made the original Nexus One — which was good! It also made the Nexus 9 — which was bad! So an HTC Nexus phone or two could be a little redemption for the company. It's also (and I don't mean to cast aspersions at HTC by saying this) going to be yet another year where we're left wondering why Google can't step up and try making the whole Nexus enchilada itself, like it does with its Pixel devices.
I know all the reasons that Google partners to make the Nexus, but increasingly I find myself coming around to Walt Mossberg's point of view: I'd like to see what Google could do with a phone if it really tried.
Anyway, I'm sure HTC is going to do a nice job with this year's Nexus phones — it got everything but the price right with the HTC 10. And usually (but not always), Google knows how to get the price right with the Nexus.