As far as design and specs go, the HTC U11+, which HTC just announced today, was apparently going to be released under a very different brand. Based on information gathered and reported on by The Verge, Google’s original plans to use a handset codenamed “muskie” has come back to life, but not as a Pixel handset, and not from Google. The report indicates that the muskie handset is actually the HTC U11+, as discovered via an Android source code dump. If you’ll recall, earlier this year it was reported that Google was working with two devices. One, the muskie, was alleged to be the successor of the original Pixel XL, and rumors said it would have a bigger battery than the original, and would be manufactured by HTC. Some rumors suggested it would have the same size display, while others said it would be bigger than what was launched last year. Now, back in June, Google reportedly canceled its plans to go with the muskie handset, and, in a last-minute shift, decided to go with a smartphone codenamed “taimen.” That device was rumored right out of the gate to use a larger display than 5.5 inches, and was expected to be manufactured by LG. Turns out all of those rumors were true, in some capacity or another. Because this report points to the similarities between the U11+ and the Pixel 2 XL, along with the aforementioned Android source dump, to point out that the U11+ was indeed the device codenamed muskie, and that it was originally planned to be the Pixel 2 XL. For starters, both handsets have a six-inch display, with a resolution of 2880×1440. What’s more, they both reduce the bezels and have an aspect ratio of 18:9. Interestingly enough, the U11+ does have a bigger battery than the Pixel 2 XL, which would have been a boon for Google’s newest flagship smartphone. The biggest change, and what may haunt Google for a bit longer, is the change in display types. The U11+ uses a Super LCD panel, which, based on early impressions, suggests it’s very good. Meanwhile, Google’s Pixel 2 XL uses a pOLED display from LG, and, as you might have heard by now, saw plenty of criticism since the first reviews surfaced. Finally, HTC moved the fingerprint reader on the U11+ around to the back of the smartphone, something it hasn’t done since 2013. This placement is exactly the same as it is on Pixel smartphones, and it further points to the original design of the U11+ as being destined to carry the Pixel brand. What do you think? Should the HTC U11+ be the Pixel 2 XL and not the LG-manufactured handset that made Google’s cut?