The whole 'dropping a number' thing seems to be catching in tech circles. First, Microsoft ignored the ninth digit entirely to leap from Windows 8 to Windows 10 – our kingdom for a "ours goes one higher" 11 – and now HTC is said to be readying its new Nexus 9 tablet for its Google paymasters, despite the complete lack of a Nexus 8 yet. And here's the proof! (Sort of.)
This unsubstantiated snap comes courtesy of reliable Twitter pic rumour factory @Upleaks, which appears to show a HTC-branded Nexus tablet all right – keep staring past the hideous pink watermark – with the familiar matte-finish back and a noticeably changed size ratio to boot. Bar a micro USB port and an LED camera up top left, that's all there is to go on for now, but still: exciting, ever-so-slightly blurred backage, huh?
As you can see from our complete Nexus 9 rumour rundown, chip-maker Nvidia previously named the "HTC Nexus 9" in a lawsuit filed against Samsung and Qualcomm, also suggesting it will include the firm's new, rather impressive Tegra K1 processor, so we certainly know it's coming.
The Nexus 9 is also rumoured, somewhat predictably, to boast the upcoming Android L, spearheading Google's still-in-beta operating system alongside Motorola's also-rumoured Nexus X smartphone, codenamed "Shamu".
We reached out to HTC, who declined to comment in that typically polite fashion that all companies do when they're desperately trying to sit on a massive exclusive.