The holiday season is nearing and rumors of the upcoming Nexus handset(s) are ramping up. We've heard from many a little bird that HTC, Samsung, LG and a few other partner Android manufacturers will be making Nexus devices for this holiday shopping season.

But more than any other, word of the LG-made Nexus, the Optimus Nexus G, persists. To the dismay of the growing horde of Nexus fans, it appears as if LG is heading the efforts in this purported Nexus program overhaul. It seems as if LG may have the first 2012 Nexus handset, for better or worse.

When I asked whether HTC, LG or some other manufacturer should chip in on the Nexus line this year, LG mustered the least support across the board. Comments cried over LG's poor build quality (at least Stateside) and poor execution on various aspects of the total smartphone package, such as processor, display technology or camera capabilities.

This week, leaked images have made their way to the Web in full force only to lend credence to our initial fears. Multiple sources have uploaded pictures of the rumored Optimus Nexus G, which is believed to be based on LG's current flagship model for AT&T, the Optimus G. Unfortunately, the leaked images convey exactly what we feared of an LG-made Nexus: uninspired design, potentially poor build quality and an overall boring smartphone, particularly for a Nexus.

LG Nexus E960 front leak

However, the most recent leaks suggest LG may have taken some notes from Samsung's tight lid with the Galaxy S III earlier this year. Based on the dimensions, camera and LED placement and system info, it appears as if those ugly, blocky LG units running Android 4.1.2 were possibly LG Optimus Nexus Gs in dummy boxes to mask the finished design.

The mystery LG device was once again pictured without its ugly dummy shell and said images were uploaded to Russian forum Baraholka. The blurry pictures have since been removed, but what they entailed were pictures of an LG-branded smartphone that strongly resembles the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. (The pictures above and below are the most detailed images.)

Save for the speaker grill and front-facing camera placement, the faces of the pictured LG device and Galaxy Nexus are nearly indistinguishable. The rear of the LG phone, however, doesn't bear the hump found at the bottom of the Galaxy Nexus. Instead, the backside of this LG device is similar to the Optimus G in that it has a textured appearance but is actually covered in glass.

LG Nexus E960 rear leak

If this is, in fact, LG's entry Nexus phone, I think it's safe to say LG actually has a chance to prove its worth. From a design standpoint, the device appears to be a refinement on the Galaxy Nexus. Materials and specifications also appear to be improved. A glass panel would certainly give the device a more high-class feel over the plasticky Galaxy Nexus. And if this device is built to Optimus G specs, it should have a 4.7-inch 1,280 by 768 pixel display, 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset under the hood and a 13-megapixel camera around back.

Thus far, I've done nothing more than skim over LG Nexus rumors, hoping, at the very least, they turn out to be false. I have owned one LG phone to date, the T-Mobile G2x, which I bought against my better judgement. But the way these rumors are piecing together, it seems as though LG may deliver a seriously awesome Nexus phone. I never thought I would say it, but the Optimus Nexus G is quite intriguing, lustrous and a worthy Nexus contender even.

The name could use a little work, and the overall package is still in question. Namely, the camera in the past two Nexus phones have had rather poor image sensors and LG isn't notorious for high class image sensors (in smartphones) either.

That said, LG is already turning heads. I'm not sure this Nexus will be enough to change my mind about the Galaxy Note II or Lumia 920. But everything has a price, and if Google and LG plan to price the Nexus phone competitively, I just may have to pick one up as a backup or alternate phone.

How do you feel about the rumored LG Optimus Nexus G? Do the leaked images restore faith in LG's capacity to make a high-end smartphone? A Nexus? Or do you still feel HTC, Samsung, ASUS or another partner is a better fit for the job?

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eBay prices for the LG Optimus G

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