This video clearly shows why Google shelved muskie, the Pixel 2 XL manufactured by HTC
When we first heard rumors about the Pixel 2 lineup back in 2017, we learned that the company was working on two devices codenamed ‘walleye’ and ‘muskie’. Soon thereafter, we learned about a third device called ‘taimen’, which led many to believe that Google was planning on launching three Pixel devices. But that didn’t end up being the case, as Google only launched two devices that year — the HTC-made Pixel 2 (walleye) and the LG-made Pixel 2 XL (taimen). The HTC-made Pixel 2 XL (muskie) was canceled altogether, and a new hands-on video sheds some light on why that may have happened.
The hands-on video of HTC’s canceled Pixel 2 XL prototype comes from YouTuber Calyx Hikari, and it gives us a close look at its design. As you can see in the video, the prototype shares its back panel design with the LG-made Pixel 2 XL. It has the same two-tone finish with a single camera with a flash in the top left corner and a circular fingerprint scanner in the middle. But over on the front, things are completely different.
Unlike the Pixel 2 XL’s relatively slim bezels, ‘muskie’ features humongous top and bottom bezels that give it a dated look. This could probably be one of the many reasons behind Google’s decision to shelve the device. In my opinion, Google made the right choice. Because if the company went ahead with HTC’s prototype, it would’ve looked ugly in comparison with other flagships of its time.
The video further gives us a brief glimpse of the software running on the prototype using a wireless mouse, as the device doesn’t seem to have a working touchscreen. The About phone section shows that the device is running Android 8.0 Oreo with Android security patches from May 2017. It also confirms the codename ‘muskie’.
What are your thoughts on muskie? Do you think it would’ve been as well-received as the LG-made Pixel 2 XL? Let us know in the comments section below.