Tech products almost always have problems when they are first released, but the Pixel 2 XL seems to be having a fair amount of them. Display woes aside, buyers are reporting issues with Android Auto, Portrait Mode, and audio quality with recorded video. Now, multiple reports have surfaced about a manufacturing defect that keeps the phone from booting up at all.
— T (@trevorftard) October 30, 2017
According to a few reports on Reddit, the Ars Technica forums, and the above tweet, some Pixel 2 XL units are being shipped without Android properly installed. Obviously, the phone can't boot without the OS. It may be possible to flash a factory image, since fastboot is supposed to allow signed images to be flashed with the bootloader still locked, but the affected phones could have other problems that prevent this from working.
The main option for affected buyers is to send in the phone for a replacement, but that obviously takes at least a few days. The boot screen prompts users to visit this support page, which doesn't have a listing for that specific error message.
Google has reached out to us and confirmed that this problem has already been fixed. We asked for more details, and we will update this post when the company responds. Presumably, this was a manufacturing defect that has since been corrected.