The latest version of the Google Camera app suggests that the Pixel 6 series will use a 50 megapixel sensor made by Samsung.

Android 12 Beta 4 released earlier today, and with it, the Google Camera app was bumped to version 8.3.252. While nothing changed on the surface, some important changes were made under the hood.

Android community member and renowned Google Camera modder Cstark27 took a closer look at the latest update, and found a bit of code that mentions “P21” — Google’s internal shorthand for their fall 2021 phones including the Pixel 6 — and “GN1.” Our APK Insight team was also able to confirm the findings. “GN1” is the model number for a camera sensor first unveiled by Samsung in May 2020.

According to Samsung’s original announcement, one of the biggest draws of the GN1 sensor is that it offers dual-pixel autofocus, a technique used on DSLR cameras, which is a significant improvement over phase-detect autofocus.

The ISOCELL GN1 is Samsung’s first image sensor to offer both Dual Pixel and Tetracell technologies.

Thanks to the relatively larger pixel size, the GN1 brings image sensor performance to a new level with a combination of elevated light sensitivity for stellar low-light photos and DSLR-level auto-focus speeds, optimized for more dynamic picture-taking experiences.

At 50 megapixels, a Pixel 6 with the Samsung GN1 sensor would significantly outperform the Pixel 5’s combination of 12.2MP and 16MP rear camera. So far, the GN1 sensor has only been used on a handful of phones like the Vivo X60 series and Meizu 18 Pro, making it hard to gauge how much of an improvement it will make for Google’s next phones.

The move to Samsung’s GN1 would also mark a departure from the Pixel series reliance on Sony IMX sensors, with the last few years all using an IMX363 sensor. Of course, this is far from the first part of the Pixel 6 slated to be powered by Samsung components, as the phone’s main Google Tensor chip was created with Samsung’s SLSI division. Cstark27 was also able to find references to the phones using the Samsung Exynos 5123B modem.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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