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An HTC-made Pixel 2 XL prototype just sold on eBay

Someone is about to get a good look at the Google phone that might have been.

Published onJune 1, 2021

  • An HTCPixel 2 XL prototype just sold on eBay.
  • The “Muskie” test phone was clearly just a larger version of the Pixel 2 that eventually shipped.
  • It’s not clear how this device escaped into the wild.

Someone is about to get a very close look at HTC’s unreleased Google phone. Following a 9to5Google report, an anonymous eBay user has sold a prototype HTCPixel 2 XL for $580.

The HTCPixel 2 XL at auction, codenamed “Muskie,” is an EVT (Engineering Validation Test) example. True to earlier leaks, it really is the standard Pixel 2 writ large. It still has giant bezels and conspicuous front speakers, just with an ornate pattern on the back and a modified “G” logo to disguise the Google brand.

There are further references to the HTCPixel 2 XL’s prototype status. This model is running a debug version of Android 8 Oreo that makes multiple references to the “Muskie” codename — the software was clearly specific to this phone. It’s using an Android security patch from August 2017, suggesting Google and HTCwere maintaining code until just a couple of months before the official October 2017 debut.

See also: The best HTC phones you can buy right now

There’s no hint of who bought the phone, and the recipient might not be thrilled once the novelty wears off. The seller warned that the HTCsystem might be “unstable or not working,” and that there were no guarantees networking would work properly. Even if you came across it yourself, you might end up with little more than a paperweight.

Still, the auction is useful as an illustration of what might have been. Google had invested a lot in the HTCPixel 2 XL before switching to the LG design that eventually reached the public — this wasn’t a throwaway. While you’re unlikely to see that kind switch-up again given Google’s increasingly hands-on approach to design, it’s fun to imagine what would have happened if Google had moved forward with an all-HTC Pixel lineup.

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