For the second generation of Pixel phones, Google made a relatively last-minute decision to shelve an HTC-made Pixel 2 XL for the LG one that launched. There were a handful of reports about this change in 2017, but the first pictures of the “muskie” Pixel 2 XL prototype have now emerged.

Thanks to an eBay listing, we see that “muskie” is essentially just a larger Pixel 2. This means the same thick top and bottom bezels with speaker grills, as well as having the flash appear (left-to-right) before the camera sensor. Since this is a prototype unit “for internal testing and development only,” the rear has a pattern that doubles as a security measure. 

There’s also an “EVT1 C” sticker, alternate brand logo in place of the usual “G,” and “NOT FOR SALE” at the very bottom on top of a “G1041270 barcode.”   

The bootloader is unlocked with the device fully booting. As an internal device, there are a handful of test apps like “Better Bug,” “Pixel Logging,” “Ramdumper,” “Traceur,” and “Volta.” There’s also one for testing the USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack. A glance at the “About phone” page reveals that “muskie” is running Android 8.0.1 with the August 2017 security patch.

At the time, an AOSP reference suggested that muskie would have a larger 3,830mAh battery — versus 3,520mAh on the LG version — that you can also separately buy on eBay. It’s unclear what the screen size is, but it’s largely believed to be smaller than 6 inches. Meanwhile, HTC took the engineering work to ship the U11+.

Another prototype also emerged in late January.

This “Google Pixel Muskie Prototype Original Unreleased” is on sale for $580. From these pictures, Google made the right choice in dropping the HTC “muskie” for a Pixel 2 XL from LG. The device is quite dated, and Google’s second outing in 2017 would have been panned on the design front.

Google Pixel Muskie PROTOTYPE ORIGINAL!! (1 phone 580$)


Android OS.

Untested. Hardware details unknown. System may be unstable or not working. Network untested.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: