In addition to launching an Android One device this morning, HTC announced the U11+ with a massive battery, the latest specs, and 8.0 Oreo. A new report now suggests that this device was “originally intended” to be “muskie” — the shelved Google Pixel 2 XL from HTC.
Speaking to a source familiar with “HTC and Google’s tumultuous recent history,” The Verge revealed that the “core design and engineering” for U11+ was “essentially done to build the next Google Pixel XL.”
Back in June, rumors revealed that Google shelved the HTC-made “muskie” for a “taimen” device manufactured by LG. An AOSP entry last month revealed more about muskie, including its large 3,830 mAh battery and 560 DPI for its screen.
The HTC U11+’s spec are more or less in line with this, especially the 4,000 mAh battery and the 6-inch 2880×1440 LCD with an 18:9 aspect ratio — which matches the display found on the Pixel 2 XL.
The Verge also points out that rear-facing fingerprint sensor is more in line with Google’s design than HTC’s, with the U11 life still opting for a front sensor below the screen. This changed allowed for slimmer bezels that truthfully look half-decent.
Other features found on the U11+, like the transparent glass rear and wireless charging, and even some of its specs, probably would not have made its way to the Pixel 2 XL. Furthermore, it’s unclear how much of the slimmer bezels date back to muskie.
In all, HTC’s latest flagship seems like a pretty solid flagship whose more staid development cycle could have saved Google from some of the current criticism.