Before Google released the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, there were reports the company was working on a device codenamed “muskie,” which was ultimately cancelled. Turns out, that device would have essentially been the recently-announced HTC U11 Plus.
According to The Verge, Google rejected the HTC-made device in favor of the Pixel 2 XL made by LG. That’s why the HTC U11 Plus is a little different than what we’ve seen in previous HTC devices. One clear giveaway is the rear-facing fingerprint sensor, which we haven’t seen in an HTC device for years.
It’s unclear why Google made the last minute switch to LG’s blueprint in favor of HTC’s—HTC made the Pixel 2 after all. One reason might be that LG chose an OLED panel for the Pixel 2 XL’s 6-inch display. However, there have been a number of complaints about the device’s screen since it launched—something that might have been avoided had Google went with HTC, as the U11 Plus featured an LCD panel.
As it is, the U11 Plus is essentially a Pixel device in its execution; it features a squeezable frame, Android 8.0 Oreo, and a rear-facing fingerprint sensor. In the end, though, Google decided the LG-manufactured Pixel 2 XL was the better call.
But it’s not all bad news for HTC. The company’s best engineers were scooped up by Google, so we could see a variation of muskie when the search giant releases another pair of Pixel devices next year.