Google has launched a new generation of its Pixel smartphone and they have a good reason for keeping Huawei out of the smartphone market as their market share starts to grow from the recent ban on the Chinese brands devices.
The top end Pixel 4 which comes in white, black and a new orange colour incorporates Google’s Project Solei, a processor that delivers unique radar abilities and hand-gesture features.
The Pixel 4 comes in two sizes: one with a 5.7-inch display and the other with a 6.3-inch display.
Users are now able to wave the hand over the phone to change music, take a call, interact with digital avatars and easily access content.
It can also predict certain actions before users even tell the phone to carry them out.
For instance, if the Pixel 4’s alarm is going off, the phone will automatically quiet the ring once it senses a hand coming to shut it off.
‘Pixel 4 has the fastest secure face unlock on a smartphone because the process starts before you’ve even picked up your phone,’ said Sabrina Ellis, Director of Product at Google.
‘Motion Sense prepares the camera when you reach for your Pixel 4, so you don’t need to tap the screen.’
The device has a 90HZ refresh rate OLED display putting it on par with top end Galaxy devices from Samsung.
As for the camera it incorporates three sensors in a module on the back of the device and will similarly use what Google calls ‘computational photography’ to enhance image quality.
Other camera features will likewise mirror many of those announced by Apple during its iPhone 11 event in September, with a new night mode for nighttime photography, AI for better image acuity, and improved zoom capabilities that help retain image quality on zoomed in pictures.
The additional camera sensors will also give a wider-range in portrait mode to capture a larger field.
The Pixel 4 and larger Pixel 4 XL has improved Night Sight facility, which observers claim has finally surpassed the iPhone 11 and Huawei Mate 30’s low-light capabilities.
Google claims its machine-learning algorithms have been improved to deliver better “colour balance”, to ensure skies and other parts of the scenery look more natural.
This should address the fact some critics felt the old software sometimes whitened warm sources of light too aggressively.
Also introduced is a new Astrophotography mode allows the phone to capture “stars, planets and even galaxies” by automatically creating a composite of 15 long-exposure images, each lasting 15 seconds in duration. The whole process can take more than four minutes to complete.
The big plus for the slow selling Google Pixel is that the search Company is seeing smartphone growth in the USA after Huawei was kicked out by the US Federal Government.
Pixel is only the ninth bestselling phone brand despite positive reviews for its last-generation models Google has gained market share at the expense of Huawei.
Google says it is playing a long game.
“It is very early for us still,” devices and services chief Rick Osterloh told BBC News ahead of its New York launch.
“Most people in the mobile-phone space… take more than a decade to grow to any significant scale. And so, we have that long-term view.”
Recently Google was stopped from allowing Huawei to pre-install Google apps on their new models or update current models because of a trade ban, one market watcher said Pixel had a chance to make significant gains this time round.
Ben Wood, from CCS Insight told the BBC “With Huawei effectively leaving the market, clearly there’s an opportunity for Google if it is prepared to put significant marketing support behind its devices.”
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL which come in three colours — Clearly White, Just Black, and a limited edition, Oh So Orange start in price at A$1049 for the Pixel 4 and $1,279 for the Pixel XL.
Pixel 4 will be available from October 24 at Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, JB Hi Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks and the Google Store.