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TL;DR
  • The latest Android 12 beta seems to contain some details about the main camera sensor and SoC modem used in the Pixel 6 series.
  • The information suggests Google is sourcing both components from Samsung.

Google’s Pixel 6 series has to be one of the most hotly anticipated after the company dropped official renders and information about its home-baked chip last week. Now, the Android 12 beta 4 released yesterday hints at some details about the camera and SoC of the upcoming Google phones.

As discovered by an XDA member, a new version of the Google Camera app in the latest Android 12 beta contains a string of code titled “gn1_wide_p21.” It suggests that Google could use Samsung’s ISOCELL 50MP GN1 sensor as the main wide-angle camera of the 2021 Pixels.

Samsung introduced the 50MP GN1 sensor last year. It features a 1/1.31-inch sensor size and 1.2 micron pixels in contrast to 0.8 micron pixels seen in Samsung’s other high-resolution sensors. The bigger pixels mean better low-light performance even though the resolution takes a dip. Samsung, however, also launched a 50MP GN2 sensor earlier this year. It offers a larger sensor size and 1.4 micron pixels used in most of Google’s Pixel phones. It would have made more sense for the Pixel 6 series to use the newer Samsung sensor. Of course, we’ll only know for sure when Google reveals more details about its new phones.

Related: The Pixel 6 is Google’s first true answer to the iPhone

For what it’s worth, an earlier leak also suggested that the Pixel 6 will have a 50MP camera, albeit a Sony, not a Samsung sensor.

A Samsung-made Pixel chip?

Google traditionally relies on Qualcomm for its smartphone SoC needs but this year it’s doing things in-house. Word has it that Samsung is handling the production of the Tensor chip using its 5nm process.

A system APK in Android 12 beta 4 also references the “g5123b” modem. This modem is mapped to five devices: Oriole, Raven, Passport, Slider, and an unknown fifth device. The first two codenames are believed to belong to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, while Passport is the rumored codename for Google’s foldable phone.

XDA notes that the “g5123b” is likely based on Samsung’s Exynos Modem 5123 used in the Exynos variants of the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 phones. A recent report from GalaxyClub also claimed that Tensor is actually Samsung’s Exynos 9855 chip that slots between the Exynos 2100 of the Galaxy S21 series and the upcoming Exynos chip with the AMD GPU expected to power the Galaxy S22 series.