While we're not expecting a brand new version of Android at Google I/O in June, a few lines in Google's AOSP (Android Open Source Project) changelog have kicked speculation about upcoming Google hardware into high gear. With mentions of a possible HTC device and an upcoming set-top box buried in Google's online development notes (which have since been taken down), this could be a big year for Nexus diehards.
Nexus devices—from the Galaxy Nexus code-named maguro to the Nexus 5 code-named hammerhead—have all started life with fish names. The theoretical HTC device in question would seem to be called Flounder, falling in line with previous rumors that HTC will be making an upcoming Nexus tablet.
Here's how flounder was referenced in the now missing changelog entry: project device/htc/flounder/
HTC hasn't been involved in Google's Nexus program since it delivered the Nexus One in 2010. Since then, we've seen Samsung and LG take their best shots at the Nexus smartphones, while Asus has owned the majority of the Nexus tablet lineup.
Whether Google is expanding its manufacturer list for the program, or is sailing away from Asus, remains to be seen. But considering HTC's industrial design savvy and best-in-class success with the HTC One (M8), I doubt anyone would be upset if HTC took away Asus' claim on Nexus tablets. Asus, of course, has made both of Google's well-received 7-inch tablets, while Samsung delivered the forgettable Nexus 10.
It's important to note that just because HTC's name is sitting alongside a possible Nexus codename, no hardware is guaranteed. And nothing about the changelog reference even mentions a tablet. This device could be a phone. Or it could be vapor. Nonetheless, it's impossible to not be at least a little bit interested in the prospect of an HTC-branded Nexus tablet.
Also mentioned in the now removed changelog is a device called molly:
Set BT minor code to SET_TOP_BOX instead of HIFI.
Not only is there a specific reference to molly being a set-top box, but its codename is indeed a type of fish, meaning that we could see a Google-branded set-top box under the Nexus name in the future.
Of course, Google TV never caught on, even as the prices of Google's set-top box partners plummeted. Nonetheless, Asus and LG have continued to produce TVs and standalone devices with the service installed (though LG has its sights set on WebOS for future TVs).
Google's connected TV vision has apparently been rebranded as Android TV, and the new name may do the service well—as long as the UI and specific features are dramatically better than anything we found in Google TV. But if a molly box delivers anything like what was leaked in April, Google should just stick with Chromecast.