• A person tries a new Google Pixel phone at the Google pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood on Oct. 20, 2016 in New York City.

A person tries a new Google Pixel phone at the Google pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood on Oct. 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo : Getty Images/ Spencer Platt)

Will Google reintroduce significant elements of the beloved Nexus device lineup as the tech giants ramps on its preparation for the Google Pixel 2 2017 release? Rumors have it that alongside the flagship Pure Android handsets to come out this year, the company will also launch the relatively cheaper Pixel 2B.

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In a report, 9to5Google said that multiple prototypes or test devices are now in use in relation to the Google Pixel 2 thrust this 2017. The publication pointed to a reliable source as provider of its credible information.

And supposedly included in the Pixel 2017 project, which bumped off the Nexus smartphones and tablets last year, is a device that is labelled for now as Pixel 2B. Numerous 2B prototypes are currently being tested and if the information will turn out as solid, this cheaper member of the Pixel line will see action soon.

The plan, according to the same report, is for the Pixel 2B to hit the market at the same time with the flagship Pixel smartphones but things could change and the debut time could happen a bit later. "This phone would bring with it a lower-price point and less powerful hardware, and would be aimed at different markets," 9to5Google reported.

And as originally intended with the Nexus line, the Pixel 2B is designed as the emerging markets' easy access to "Google Phone and Google experience, the report added.

What "less powerful hardware" exactly means could be Google intends to tone down on the hardware make up and other components of the device in order to bring down its price tag. That strongly suggests that the Pixel 2B will not get a taste of the Snapdragon 835 chip that most Android flagships, the 2017 Pixel 2 phones including, will be using.

Also, the report did not mention any manufacturing partners for Google's Pixel 2017 project so it remains unclear if HTC, which handled the Pixel phones of 2016, will be the anointed maker anew or other hardware partners will come in, at least for the Pixel 2B.

As for the actual pricing, the only hint carried by the same report is that the Pixel 2B when unboxed "will be significantly cheaper." So the sticker price of the Pixel 2B when and if it materializes will likely be determined in relation with the main Pixel 2 starting price, which on its 2H 2017 release date will be $50 higher from last year, 9to5Google reported.