Google is pitching its Pixel 4 phones as being able to take the kind of astrophotography images that required specialist camera kit in the past.
They are also the first handsets to use a motion-sensing radar chip that switches off some functionality when the phone is left unattended, saving battery life.
Pixel is only the ninth bestselling phone brand in the UK, despite positive reviews for its last-generation models.
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.”
One reason the Pixel 3 has been more successful in the US than elsewhere is that Huawei has been effectively excluded from the American market.
And with the Chinese company’s latest models unable to pre-install Google apps because of a trade ban, one market watcher said Pixel had a chance to make significant gains this time round.
“Operators and retailers in Europe are nervous about a return to there being just two dominant players – Samsung and Apple,” said Ben Wood, from CCS Insight.
“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.”