We've heard again and again and again that HTC is building Google's next Nexus tablet, and the rumor got even stronger legs on Monday as the Wall Street Journal reported that the Taiwanese handset maker is indeed teaming up with Google.
It would mean no hat trick for Asus, which built the last two versions of the Nexus 7. Google partnered with Samsung on the Nexus 10, which is also overdue for a replacement.
Whereas the Nexus 7 is a budget-friendly tablet with decent specs, the rumor mill suggests Google is looking to build a high-end tablet that would compete more directly with the iPad. Another report claims that HTC is also building an accessory keyboard case for its Nexus tablet.
The names Nexus 8 and Nexus 9 have been thrown around, but there is no clear evidence yet about potential screen sizes or product names.
HTC's last foray into tablet-making produced the HTC Flyer, largely considered a flop. In fact, HTC never released another tablet after the Flyer's disatrous 2011 release. However, the company has been lauded many times over for its One smartphone line—we called it "the best Android smartphone" when reviewing it in April.
HTC certainly has the capability to build excellent hardware. The company even ribbed Apple when the iPhone 6 was unveiled.
The question will be, of course, if HTC can transfer its smartphone success to the tablet form factor. HTC rivals like Samsung and LG produce plenty of Android tablets, so partnering with Google for a Nexus tablet is probably HTC's best shot at getting back in the race.
Given iOS 8's tight integration with the Apple ecosystem and the promise of a looming iPad refresh, the time is right for Google to strike back with an attractive tablet. HTC has the opportunity to reclaim a spotlight lost long ago if it can produce an excellent Nexus device that will rally the Android faithful and make those looking at an iPad think twice.