The history of how the HTC U11 Plus came to be seems to have had a bypass from an earlier launch when Google became involved.
A source to The Verge says the phone that debuted today as the U11 Plus was worked behind the scenes as the Pixel 2 XL for a period. The device was known as “muskie” in Google’s code repositories and existed alongside a “taimen” that became the LG-crafted current Pixel 2 XL.
A lot of the specifications and design were carried over between statuses like the 6-inch 2:1 OLED display. However, some changes has to be made since it left existence at Google. What would follow needed to be in HTC’s ‘U’ design language — from the liquid surface back to the placement of the camera and hardware accents. The 3,500mAh battery in the LG Pixel 2 XL is gapped by the U11 Plus’s 3,930mAh battery. Part of that discrepancy could be explained through different PCB designs and supply chain modifications — the OLED screen on the Pixel 2 XL is from the relatively inexperienced LG Display whereas who exactly HTC would’ve chosen for product is not known.
The U11 Plus, which was supposedly known inside HTC as the “Ocean Master,” was actually off the company’s table for a time from the launch of the U11 or “Ocean” through to the launch of the Pixel 2 phones. Perhaps this was the period when it was being worked as the Pixel 2 XL.