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Lenovo Reportedly to Make Nexus 6 Flagship Phone

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The next Google (GOOG) branded Nexus smartphone reportedly will be manufactured by Lenovo. The rumored Nexus 6 device is said to be coming from the soon-to-be owner of Motorola Mobility although that deal won't be completed before release of the new phone.

Google shares were gaining 0.26% to $1,180.48 in early New York trading.

Lenovo, the Chinese-based computer manufacturer, announced late last month it purchased the Motorola phone business from Google for $3 billion. Google received a 6% stake in Lenovo as part of the deal. It is believed Lenovo's main goal was to obtain the majority of Motorola's intellectual property portfolio in the deal rather than the actual hardware business.

Although current Lenovo smartphone distribution is currently limited to markets in Asia and Africa with hopes of expanding to other markets, the company ranks in the top-five of handset makers in terms of sales. Lenovo plans to expand distribution to the Middle East and Latin America in the near future but has yet to announce plans for bringing its Android phones to North America.

The current flagship handset running a pure version of the Android operating system is the Nexus 5 produced by LG. A bright red version of the popular model has just been announced. Previous Nexus smartphones have been made by HTC and Samsung.

No Nexus 6 specifications have been leaked so far. A formal announcement is expected in the second quarter; possibly as early as April.

There are also reports that the upcoming small Nexus tablet will actually be a little larger than previous models. The Nexus 7 will be up-sized to the Nexus 8 and will reportedly still be made by Asus. Google needs to increase screen size to better differentiate new tablets from the current trend of 5-and-6 inch, super-sized smartphones as well as better compete with the popular 8-inch screen  Apple (AAPL)  iPad mini and new, smaller Microsoft (MSFT) Windows 8 tablets.

Google is also believed to be working on a refresh of its larger Android tablet. The second-generation Nexus 10 will be  reportedly manufactured by HTC. HTC was said to have been originally asked to work on the original Nexus 7 but passed. Google then turned to Asus to help design and build the popular model.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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