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Google plans five Nexus phones and tablets for Jelly Bean

Google is planning not one but as many as five Nexus phones and tablets to showcase Jelly Bean, the next update after Ice Cream Sandwich.

Google is planning not one but five Nexus phones and tablets, according to new reports. That's a whole line-up of sequels to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and the original Google Nexus One to show off the next generation of Android.

Previously Google has worked with one manufacturer at a time to build a Nexus phone for each new update to the Android operating system. But the next update, Jelly Bean, will appear on a range of five phones and tablets built as many as five partner manufacturers, to be released in the US by the end of November.

The next flagship Android phones would also be sold directly by Google, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the US the current flagship Galaxy Nexus is on sale from Google Play, the Android app market and online shop for movies and music. It's been a while since Google has directly sold a Nexus phone rather than through the usual shops and networks, which was the original plan for the first Nexus phone.

Buying a phone direct costs more up front, but is often cheaper in the long run and gives you the flexibility to choose any phone deal you fancy.

Each new version of Android is showcased on a flagship phone, given the Nexus moniker and untainted by any of the extra features added by phone builders and networks. The current version is known as Ice Cream Sandwich, which made its debut on the Galaxy Nexus last year -- yet Ice Cream Sandwich is still only on 5 per cent of phones.

Google is also rumoured to be preparing a Nexus tablet to show off Android on a larger screen. Asus is slated to build the Nexus tablet, despite Samsung's having built the last two Nexus phones and Motorola having been absorbed by Google. Google spent £7.6bn on Motorola, which built the Motorola Xoom, the first tablet to show off Android version 3.0 Honeycomb.

Check out our guide to every Android update ever to see the evolution of the OS.

Would you buy a phone direct from Google or do you prefer a network contract's cheaper initial outlay? What could the different Android manufacturers bring to the range of Nexus phones? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.