San Francisco (AFP)

Google unveiled a new entry-level smartphone on Monday, and announced the launch of 5G-enabled phones later this year in a declining market.

On sale in the United States from August 20, the Pixel 4a features some features of previous models, including a sophisticated camera, for prices starting at $ 349, or half that of the flagship Pixel 4. .

Still a minor player in the field of smartphones, the search engine giant had positioned itself with the launch of the Pixel 3a last year, cheaper than high-end handsets, against the current of the market and its prices dizzying.

A trend that has been confirmed this year in particular with Apple's iPhone SE, marketed since April at $ 399 or more, with certain features of the number 11 trilogy, presented at the end of 2019.

The South Korean Samsung also put on sale in early April several new smartphones. One of them includes the ability to use ultra-fast 5G waves and costs less than $ 500.

"The Pixel 4a and the first Pixels designed for 5G, the Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 coming in the fall, will continue to bring the features people love in stylish devices and at more affordable prices. "said Brian Rakowski, a vice president of Google.

The Pixel 4a (5G) will cost a minimum of $ 499 and go on sale in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, as well as Canada, UK, Japan, Taiwan and the US.

The global smartphone market "collapsed" in the second quarter this year, Apple alone continued to grow in the top tier, according to Canalys.

The California-based company has sold more than 45 million iPhones globally, 25% more than a year ago at the same time, Canalys said.

At the same time, the world market fell 14% to 285 million handsets sold, after a first quarter already in decline.

"For now, purchasing power in major markets has remained relatively stable," said analyst Ben Stanton of Canalys.

"The real test will take place in the coming months, as the compensation mechanisms come to an end," he said.

For the first time in nine years, neither Samsung nor Apple has dominated the market: it is the Chinese group Huawei which has led the world sales, despite the American sanctions and the pandemic, with 55.8 million devices sold.

© 2020 AFP