Muskie, Rejected As The Google Pixel 2 XL, Evolved Into The HTC U11 Plus


Muskie, the smartphone that was originally intended to become the Google Pixel 2 XL, has now been unveiled as the HTC U11 Plus.

Many Google Pixel 2 XL owners may now be wondering whether Muskie would have made a better version of their smartphone instead of the LG-made Taimen, as Pixel 2 XL problems still run rampant.

Goodbye Muskie, Hello HTC U11 Plus

Early on in Pixel 2 development, Google was actually planning three models for the smartphone. The Pixel 2 was codenamed Walleye and the Pixel 2 XL was codenamed Muskie, while a third model codenamed Taimen was shrouded in mystery. HTC was manufacturing the Walleye and Muskie, while LG was on Taimen.

However, it was reported in June that Google decided to drop Muskie in favor of Taimen as the Pixel 2 XL. A tipster said that Google likely made the move as Muskie did not meet battery life requirements and other goals on cost effectiveness.

Muskie, however, did not just fade away into oblivion. The smartphone has now been revived as the HTC U11 Plus, as confirmed by The Verge with a source who is familiar with the history of HTC and Google's plans.

The HTC U11 Plus is not an exact replica of Muskie back when it was being considered as the Google Pixel 2 XL. The core design and engineering of the smartphone, however, remains.

HTC U11 Plus Specs And Features

The HTC U11 Plus has now been unveiled as the company's latest flagship smartphone, with specifications and features that provide an upgrade over the well-reviewed HTC U11.

The major differences between the HTC U11 Plus and the HTC U11 are the larger screen, which increased from 5.5 inches to 6 inches, the bigger battery of 3,930 mAh from 3,000 mAh, and Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.

However, despite the larger display, the body of the HTC U11 Plus is not that much bigger than the HTC U11 due to slimmer bezels. To accommodate this change, HTC moved the fingerprint sensor from the front of the HTC U11 to the back of the HTC U11 Plus, a characteristic that likely carried over from its stint as the Google Pixel 2 XL.

Rounding out the specs of the HTC U11 Plus are the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and either 4 GB of RAM with 64 GB of internal storage or 6 GB of RAM with 128 GB of internal storage.

HTC has not yet officially announced the markets where the smartphone will be available and its price for each of them. The HTC U11 Plus, however, is known to have a price tag in the United Kingdom of £699, equivalent to about $913, for the 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage option.

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