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Google unveils Pixel 4 phone with ‘astrophotography’ capability

By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

Google has unveiled its new flagship phone – the Pixel 4 – which features a dual rear camera system that includes the ability to take astronomical photos for the first time.

The technology giant’s new device also includes motion sensor technology which enables users to control the device without touching it, but instead by making hand gestures over it which are picked up by built-in radar.

Google said the new astrophotography mode is able to take detailed pictures of the night sky when kept completely still when using the Pixel’s Night Sight low-light photo mode, and use computation to piece together a number of different images to create the final shot.

The Pixel line of smartphones are seen are direct rivals to Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S range of handsets, and run the firm’s own Android operating system.


In a clear challenge to those devices, Google confirmed the Pixel 4 will start at £669 – significantly less than Apple’s recently launched iPhone 11, which starts at £729.

The new phone will be available in either the 5.7-inch screen Pixel 4 or the 6.3-inch Pixel 4 XL, Google confirmed and will go on sale on October 24.

Both versions support wireless charging and include what Google calls “adaptive all-day battery”, which uses machine learning to determine which apps are being used least frequently and cutting down power consumption of those when not in use.

The devices also include the updated version of the firm’s Google Assistant, which Google says can process voice commands up to ten times faster.

Google’s Sabrina Ellis said the Pixel 4 contained features “you’re not going to find on any other phone”.

She revealed the phone will also include a new Recorder app which is capable of transcribing audio into text in real-time using artificial intelligence.

At a live event in New York, the phones were among a number of new devices unveiled by the technology giant, including new Pixel Buds wireless earphones, the Pixelbook Go laptop, a new smart speaker – the Google Nest Mini – and a new WiFi-boosting system known as Google Nest Wifi.

Google also confirmed its new video games streaming service, Google Stadia – which allows users to stream games to any device including their smartphone, will launch on November 19.