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Google unveils latest Pixel phone

Google will try to make a bigger splash in the smartphone market with a cheaper high-end model while it also aims to expand its presence on bigger screens with a new TV service.

The products unveiled on Wednesday focus on two areas where Google has struggled to make significant inroads.

Google has sold a total of 19 million Pixel phones so far, including just 3 million of the last model released a year ago, based on estimates from the research firm International Data Corp.

By comparison, Apple sold twice as many iPhones in just three months - April to June - during the middle of a pandemic when millions of people were stuck at home, based on IDC's estimates.

The company is trying to turn the tide with the Pixel 5, which offers a few new twists, including the ability to work with the new ultra-fast wireless networks called 5G that are still being built.

The new phone also will boast several new camera features, including a tool for taking portraits in low lighting and a wide-angle lens.

But perhaps the Pixel 5's biggest selling point will be its price - $US700 ($A980), a markdown of $US100 ($A140) from last year's model.

The phone, available on October 15, is coming out two months after Google introduced a budget version, the Pixel 4a, that sells for $US350 ($A490).

Google also revealed on Wednesday that it will make a 5G version of the Pixel 4a that will sell for $US500 ($A700).

Google has had more success with a hardware lineup called Chromecast that streams online video on TVs.

But Chromecast also faces a wide array of competition from similar streaming devices made by Roku, Amazon and Apple.

In an attempt to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, Google's next Chromecast will include a new service tying together many of its services in a way that's designed to make it easier for viewers to sift through TV channels and streaming services to find something they want to watch.

The service, called Google TV, includes the company's other big-screen software, Android TV, as well as its industry-leading search engine, Chrome browser, and YouTube TV.

The new Chromecast, which will cost $US50 ($A70), also will come with a small remote control for the first time.

© AP 2020