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Purported image of Google's next Nexus handset leaks online

The image features only a view of the backplate, but it's white and comes with the familiar "Nexus" branding. Questions abound, however, over whether the image is real.

Google's Nexus 6, which launched in 2014, may soon be replaced by two new Nexus smartphones. Josh Miller/CNET

Rumors have been swirling that Google is planning to launch a new version of its Nexus-branded smartphone, and now an image has hit the Web claiming to show that device.

A member on the Google Nexus Community Indonesia site posted an image of what looks to be the backplate of a Nexus handset. Reports around the Web suggest it's a picture of the upcoming Nexus, though it's impossible to know for sure what the device in the image actually is.

What we do know is that the image shows the back of what looks to be a Nexus-branded smartphone. The backplate is white and comes with the familiar "Nexus" branding. It also has a large lens and flash. "Not for Sale" text is placed above the Nexus branding.

The image is being called the first to show a final or near-final design of Google and its manufacturing partners may have in store for the next line of Nexus devices.

Debuting in January 2010, the Google Nexus line of handsets includes devices made by third-party manufacturers under the Google branding. Unlike most other Android-based handsets, the Nexus line runs the standard version of Google's latest Android operating system. Most other devices tend, including Samsung's Galaxy line or HTC's One smartphones, have a skin atop Android that offers a slightly different user experience and includes their own applications in addition to Google's.

Nexus is designed for Google to showcase the original, unmodified version of Android. The company also tends to work with handset makers to offer higher-end specs, placing the Nexus line, which also includes tablets, in competition with top-end devices like Apple's iPhone.

Each year, Google handpicks the manufacturers that will design and build the latest Nexus. A host of manufacturers, including LG, Motorola, and HTC, have developed Nexus handsets.

Last year's model, the Nexus 6, was designed by Motorola Mobility, a unit that Google sold to Lenovo last year for nearly $3 billion.

For months, rumors have suggested that Google is hoping to launch two new Nexus handsets in 2015. In May, the Android-tracking blog Android Police cited sources who said both LG and China-based vendor Huawei are working on new Nexus devices. The LG handset, codenamed Angler, could offer a 5.2-inch screen, while the Huawei option, codenamed Bullhead, would get a 5.7-inch display.

The image that hit the Web on Sunday appears to show an LG logo on a sticker attached to the backplate. It's unclear whether it comes with a 5.2-inch screen.

Speculation abounds over when Google may finally announce new Nexus devices, but the latest rumors peg a release date in the fall. For now, though, take the rumors -- and the latest image -- with the proverbial grain of salt until the company actual unveils its new handsets.

Neither Google nor LG immediately responded to a request for comment.

(Via Engadget)