Android 12 Beta 4 hints the Pixel 6 has Samsung’s 50MP GN1 sensor and Exynos 5123 modem
The fourth beta release of Android 12 rolled out earlier today, marking the Platform Stability milestone. The purpose of this release is to provide developers a build with finalized APIs and app-facing behaviors so they can test and update their apps before the stable release. As always, Beta 4 contains several changes not mentioned in Google’s blog post, such as Android 12’s Easter egg, but it also has updated versions of several Google apps. An analysis of these updated Google apps reveals some new information on the upcoming Pixel 6 series, including possibly what image sensor the main camera uses as well as what modem the phone uses for cellular connectivity.
Pixel 6’s main camera could use Samsung’s 50MP GN1 sensor
A new version of the Google Camera app came preloaded on Pixel phones with the Android 12 Beta 4 update. Within a library contained in the APK, GCam modder extraordinaire cstark27 discovered a string titled “gn1_wide_p21”, which suggests the main “wide-angle” camera of Google’s 2021 Pixel phones (ie. the Pixel 6 series) will be Samsung’s 50MP ISOCELL GN1 image sensor.
This high megapixel image sensor was announced in the middle of last year, and it supports Dual Pixel autofocus for faster and more accurate focusing. An earlier leak suggested the main wide-angle camera will have a 50MP sensor, and the string that cstark27 found within the Google Camera app backs that up. Google has used Sony’s IMX363 image sensor for the last few generations of Pixel phones, so the Samsung GN1 is a major upgrade in terms of raw specifications. Of course, a good image sensor doesn’t mean much if the image processing software isn’t up to par, but if there’s anything Pixel phones are known for, it’s their camera software.
Google could use Samsung’s Exynos 5123 modem
Within another system APK, modder cstark27 also discovered a reference to the “g5123b” modem. This modem model is “mapped” to multiple devices, though the strings identifying these devices are encrypted. Through some clever spoofing and reverse engineering, similarly to how we determined the Pixel 5 has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G, it’s possible to decrypt these strings. After doing so, cstark27 determined that the “g5123b” modem is mapped to 5 devices with the following code-names: Oriole, Raven, Passport, Slider, and an unknown fifth product. Oriole and raven are the code-names for the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro respectively, while passport is the rumored code-name for Google’s foldable Pixel and slider is the code-name for an unknown Google product.
Oriole, Raven, Passport, “Slider” are 4 out of 5 devices that have a modem referenced as “g5123b”. The most recent Samsung Exynos (“shannon”) modem is 5123A. Can’t confirm the last one right now.
— cstark27 (@Cstark_27) August 11, 2021
The other modem model mappings in this APK match the previous devices and their Snapdragon processors, so it’s likely that this “g5123b” string refers to the modem within the Google Tensor chip. Although not confirmed, it’s likely that this modem is based on Samsung’s Exynos Modem 5123, the 5G modem used in the Exynos versions of the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20. This modem supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G, but it’s unclear if Google plans to ship the Pixel 6 with this modem globally. Samsung typically uses Qualcomm-made SoCs and modems for the flagships they sell in the U.S., but there’s no evidence suggesting Google will do the same.
Last week, Google confirmed its Pixel 6 smartphones will ship with the company’s in-house chip called Google Tensor. Rumors have suggested this chip was designed in coordination with Samsung’s SLSI division, and a recent report from Nikkei states that Samsung will handle production of the chip using its 5nm process technology. A separate report from GalaxyClub last week claims the Google Tensor chip has the internal designation of “Exynos 9855”, slotting it between the Exynos 9840 (AKA the Exynos 2100 in the Galaxy S21 series) and the upcoming Exynos 9925 (rumored to launch as the Exynos 2200 in the Galaxy S22 series). Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Google use an Exynos modem for its flagship Pixel 6 series, but again, we can’t confirm what modem the phones use until they launch later this year.
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.