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Samsung, Sony and LG releasing Nexus phones this year?

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2, LG Optimus Nexus and Sony Xperia Nexus have been tipped on a Japanese operator's list.

Google could be about to throw its Nexus branding wide open, with Samsung, Sony and LG all tipped to release new Nexus smart phones before the end of this year.

Japanese site Android Noodle released what's reportedly a product roadmap from Japan-based network operator NTT DoCoMo, Phandroid reports. The cryptic list appears to detail three new Nexus mobiles as coming in the winter.

Samsung's effort is the Galaxy Nexus 2, which recently leaked as a minor upgrade to last year's Galaxy Nexus. It's reckoned to sport a beefed up 1.5GHz dual-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera, according to BGR.

Meanwhile Sony's device is to be called the Sony Xperia Nexus, and LG is currently crafting the LG Optimus Nexus, according to the document.

Rumours were circulating earlier this year that suggested Google would be inviting more manufacturers to make Nexus-branded mobiles. Asus made the Nexus 7, and now it looks like Sony and LG could be joining the party.

Nexus phones run a raw version of Android, rather than playing host to manufacturer-customised versions. As well as being very slick and devoid of annoying bloatware, 'vanilla' Android smart phones are treated to speedy updates when a new version comes out, because Samsung, Sony and the like don't need to waste time making new software compatible with their custom interfaces.

I think slow updates are seriously holding Android back, so I think the more Nexus devices out there, the better. The chance to see Google's raw operating system running on Sony or LG hardware is a tempting prospect too.

Who would you like to see making a Nexus phone or tablet? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

UpdateJapan Mobile Tech writes that the source of the Nexus information is a post on Japanese text board 2channel, but also claims there's nothing to be found nothing in Japanese regarding the leaks elsewhere online, suggesting that the rumours could very well be groundless.