LG Nexus images surface

Images of what appear to be the next Nexus-branded smartphone have been leaked.

They appear to be genuine pics of the LG Nexus, believed to be the next smartphone to carry the moniker that has become associated with the top level of support from Google.

The images appeared on the XDA forums, which have become a primary source for early information about the latest smartphones.

Google is reportedly planning on changing its Nexus strategy. Until now, the strategy has been to christen one manufacturer with the honor of creating the next “Nexus” smartphone. Google would then become involved in the design process and treat that device as the most important, giving it priority when it comes to things like firmware upgrades.

However, according to Phandroid, Google will instead begin offering “Nexus” certifications to any manufacturer that meets certain specifications.

So far, there have been three Nexus devices – the Nexus One, the Nexus S, and the Galaxy Nexus. All have been critically praised but not exactly blockbuster in sales performance. By widening its reach, the Nexus moniker could begin having a bigger impact.

Google doesn’t want to outright diminish its significance, though, which is why devices need to be future-proof, and manufacturers have to guarantee a firmware upgrade to newer versions of Android.

Google hasn’t made this announcement official and is not commenting on the rumors at this time.