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AOSP code suggests unreleased HTC-made Pixel 2 wasn't just a rumor

Before Google took the veil off the Pixel 2 family rumors suggested there might actually be three models in the works. New evidence suggests this was more than a rumor.

Published onOctober 25, 2017

The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were officially announced earlier this month, but did you know that early whispers suggested Google would debut three models? Now we have signs that this may have been more than just a rumor.

As revealed by XDA, a new device branch called ‘muskie’ can be found in the latest Android source drop, Android-8.0.0_r24. Muskie was the name previously associated with this cancelled model. Diving deeper into the AOSP files yields some pretty interesting details about Muskie.

First, Muskie’s product manufacturer is listed as Google, meaning that this isn’t just some associated third party device. Furthermore, the int.common.usb.rc file shows that the kernel path for the battery has HTC listed within. Putting two and two together, this device was likely built by HTCfor Google.

Speaking of the battery, the power_profile.xml file indicates the Muskie would have had a massive 3,830 mAh battery. That’s even bigger than the Pixel 2 XL’s 3,520 mAh battery. Other interesting tidbits suggest Muskie has the same DPI as the the Pixel 2 XL, at 560. The phone even supported Pixel Visual Core, the custom SoC found in the other two members of the Pixel 2 family.

So what happened to Muskie? It’s hard to say for sure, since we know very little concrete information about it outside of the details above. That said, it’s very likely that Muskie was the original attempt at a successor to the Pixel XL, before LG got involved. That means the HTCPixel 2 XL variant likely lacked an 18:9 display, and would have had the same design as Google’s Pixel 2 — only in larger form.

Once LG got involved, Google likely decided that having two large screen models was redundant. With all the drama currently facing the Pixel 2 XL, you have to wonder if Google wishes it had released Muskie after all. What are your thoughts on the Pixel that never was? Let us know in the comments below.

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