In a report from The Information (subscription required) they claim that Google is interested in taking control of the Nexus program. This means no more partnering with manufacturers for the Nexus devices. That they would be solely designed and made for Google without any co-branding, much like the Pixel program. Where everything is designed in house and all parts are picked by Google, but they are manufactured by someone else. This is also a lot like how Apple handles their products as well.
I think the Pixel C was a great piece of hardware, and that this could only mean good news for the Nexus. According to the report Google is tired of Apple hogging the high end phone market. While the Nexus 6P was a great step in the direction of making a premium Nexus. Having full control I believe will allow Google to design the phone from top to bottom, without any interference from an OEM. This way they could design the hardware they want without any compromises. Besides the Nexus program has always been about showing off Android in the best possible way. Who could handle this better than Google themselves?
Apparently HTC is trying to produce the Nexus this year. With the struggles they’ve had they could really use a big win. Perhaps they will get it with the Nexus, or will Google strike out on their own? As with everything Google nothing seems to be set in stone. They could always change their mind or delay. It’s also possible HTC could make the Nexus for Google without any co-branding. Although that doesn’t sound like such a great deal for HTC, but at the moment maybe they can’t afford to be so picky.
While Nexus use to just be a developer device. Google seems interested in making strides with making their hardware more of a consumer product. I think this has been shown by their marketing push for both of the Nexus phones this year. It also mentions that many Googler’s were not happy that the Nexus phones weren’t sold by carriers at launch. Feeling they would have sold even better if they could have been financed through carriers. Taking full control they would be able to produce devices without interference from anyone else, control distribution, and manage software updates a lot easier. I can see this as nothing but good news for the Nexus program if true.
Source: Ars Technica