We recently covered the story that Google has cancelled the “Muskie” hardware project, which was believed to be the successor for the Google Pixel XL smartphone. The ‘Muskie’ was one in three hardware code-names for upcoming Pixel devices, the other two being the ‘Taimen‘ and the ‘Walleye.’
Of these three devices, Walleye is believed to be the second generation Google Pixel and the Taimen is a larger device, now set to be the Google Pixel XL 2. It is unclear which of the two reputed Google Pixel XL 2 models recently appeared on GFXBench.
What has not been made clear is what third-party manufacturer is behind these three devices. Google partnered with HTC for the first generation Google Pixel family, and many believed HTC would be involved in the second generation models. However, an entry in the Google Issue Tracker may have identified the manufacturer behind the Taimen device: and it’s not HTC but instead LG.
The Google Issue Tracker contains an entry under “LGE,” standing for LG Electronics. The issue, or bug, being reported is the “USB PD Compliance Failure” and had originally been registered in March. It is believable that HTC is the hardware partner for the Google Walleye and Google Muskie, with LG selected for the Google Taimen.
The 9to5Google website received a tip explaining that the Google Muskie project has been cancelled because the device did not meet Google’s exacting battery life and hardware cost benchmarks. We are also aware that Google has invested into LG for OLED screen technology, presumably for future hardware projects. Samsung is the dominant OLED manufacturer around the world today but LG has been investing considerable sums to bring production lines and factories up to speed. It stands to reason that Google might invest in LG to secure a line of OLED panels for its next smartphones. If Google follows the same pattern for its 2017 devices as it did for 2016, we will find out in the fourth quarter, which means we may have several months of additional leaks and rumors ahead of us.