Google Leak Delivers Pixel 2 Nasty Surprise

The Pixel and Pixel XL are brilliant smartphones with one clear flaw: their huge, ugly top and bottom bezels. Recent leaks suggested a new manufacturing partnership would see the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 fix this, but there’s some bad news…

Japanese blog HTC Soku has discovered references to both the ‘S2’ and ‘M2’ inside the system files of HTC’s flawed U11 handset. S1 and M1 were the codenames of the Pixel and Pixel XL respectively, which were made by HTC and based loosely on the company’s controversial A9 iPhone clone. So will the S2 (Pixel 2) and M2 (Pixel 2 XL) be based on the uninspiring U11?

Certainly the specifications suggest so.

Google Pixel 2 concept in black. Image credit: Benjamin Geskin

Benjamin Geskin

Google Pixel 2 concept with minimal bezels as many expected. Image credit: Benjamin Geskin

The S2 and M2 listings inside the HTC U11 are also tied to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, currently the flagship chipset of choice and widely expected to power the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Furthermore while three Pixel 2 models were expected at one stage, a recent cancellation leaves just the two remaining models – the S2 and M2.

Which leads us to the big problem with HTC building the new Pixels, is it does not have the same attention grabbing, almost bezel-less display technology seen in Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and LG’s G6. More to the point, it was LG which was previously expected to build the new Pixels therefore fuelling hope they’d get this shape changing technology.

Feeling The Squeeze

What HTC does have is ‘Edge Sense’ pressure sensitive chassis sides. This is used in the U11 and allows different levels of ‘squeeze’ to be measured and assigned to commands. Yes it’s a gimmick, but it is fun. The flipside is this feature was exposed as a big factor in the U11’s fragility.

HTC U11 has large bezels but the edge can be squeezed for shortcut controls


HTC U11 has large bezels but the edge can be squeezed for shortcut controls

The flipside for those not wanting HTC near the new Pixels is there could still be a reasonable explanation for finding reference to them inside the U11. Most obvious is Google GOOGL -0.24%’s switch to LG was supposedly late in the day, so HTC may have been working on the new Pixels before losing the contract which can still be found in the U11’s code.

Another positive is the HTC built Pixel and Pixel XL were really durable phones, despite their polarising designs. That said would most users prefer a squeezable Pixel 2 over a Pixel 2 with almost no bezels? I think we all know the answer to that..


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