Before it got pulled, TechHog showed off a picture of what they said was a Nexus 3 device that was to be made by HTC.  HTC obviously was the maker of the original Nexus One and has a pretty strong relationship with Google, even if it pays Microsoft patent fees for every Android device it ships.

Interestingly, the device above doesn’t have any permanent front facing buttons, much like the Honeycomb tablets that are being produced right now.

It stands to reason that software-only buttons will make their way down to phones in the next version of Android, called Ice Cream Sandwich, which will combine the Honeycomb tablet versions of the Tablet OS and the Gingerbread phone versions.  Ice Cream sandwich is due later this year and Andy Rubin claimed that a Ice Cream Sandwich reference device was in the works before Christmas.

Is this it?

Techhog says the images were pulled at the request of an outside petitioner, though it isn’t clear who it is.  Google and HTC are obvious suspects.

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