There have been quite a number of speculations as to who is making the Google Pixel 2. One of those prominently rumored is HTC which happens to be responsible for the original Pixel smartphones. It seems like there is more to that rumor as a blogger recently discovered possible hints in the HTC U11 that the company is indeed making the Pixel 2.
The discovery was made by a Japanese blog which translates to "HTC Soku" in English. The said blog analyzed the HTC U11's system files and saw references to a couple of devices codenamed S2 and M2. Based on the fact that the Google Pixel and Pixel XL were known as S1 and M1, the author of the blog assumed that the S2 and M2 referred to the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2. 9to5Google noted that the two codenames likely correspond to the Walleye and Muskie devices.
Google was actually working on three devices - codenamed Walleye, Muskie, and Taimen - before recent developments forced the company to ditch the Muskie device. The rumor is that the Muskie could not progress because of issues with its battery. It is also believed that the Muskie will not be cost-effective. Google then turned its focus on the larger Tiamen device which is being created by LG Electronics, according to some rumors.
The blogger was also intrigued by the fact that the S2 and M2 devices were in a data file connected to the HTC U11. This also suggests that the devices will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor. It's also notable that the actual use of the S2 and M2 was not revealed and that there were no entries specific to particular carriers. XDA-Developers noted that this may indicate a unified model across all carriers.
It was previously rumored that at least four companies were in the running to be the manufacturer of choice for the Google Pixel 3. HTC and LG were the most prominent of the list of candidates which also includes TCL and Coolpad. If HTC is indeed working on the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 then it stands a better chance of winning the rights for next year's Google Pixel 3.