When Google launched its first-ever “Designed by Google” Pixel phone, its unusual design, especially on the back, played in its favor. A few iterations later, however, it has become more or less accepted that the Pixel phones’ are an acquired taste when it comes to appearances. They’re not always the prettiest but there was a point in time when it could have been worse, as shown by an unexpected hands-on video of an aborted Pixel 2 XL variant by HTC.
Even in the days of the Nexus, Google always had its phones made by more than one manufacturer. In the case of the Pixel phones, it was LG and HTC that were believed to be Google’s close partners. There was a point in the Pixel 2’s development, however, that there were three models in development, two of which were Pixel 2 XL made by LG and HTC.
As we know by now, of course, only one of those made it out the door, and only the HTC-made Pixel 2 and LG-made Pixel 2 XL were launched. What happened to the HTC Pixel 2 XL was anyone’s guess at that time but now we might have an idea why. Suffice it to say, we would probably agree with Google’s decision to scrap the model known as “muskie”.
Based on the surprise revelation of an HTC Pixel 2 XL hands-on video, the “muskie” only shared the dual-tone back design with the LG Pixel 2 XL, a.k.a. “tiamen”. The front revealed a design that had massive bezels, top and bottom. Back in 2017, this would have probably been laughed out of the market.
It’s actually not 100% certain that this was the deciding factor in the muskie’s demise. Nonetheless, we can breathe a sigh of relief that, in retrospect, things turned out the way they did. Now if only Google’s future Pixels could catch up with the rest of the market, though, as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.