The Google Pixel 6 may feature a Samsung ISOCELL camera instead of the ageing Sony IMX363
Google has used the Sony IMX363 to death, having used the Exmor RS sensor in all of its smartphones from the Pixel 3 series onwards. The Pixel 5 remains one of the best smartphones out there in terms of photography, but only because of Google's software. However, GCam modder UltraM8 may have found the first hint that Google will move away from the IMX363 this year.
According to Mishaal Rahman, Editor-in-Chief at XDA Developers, Google has added support for camera sensors with GBRG Bayer pixel structures to its Super Res Zoom algorithms. Typically, GBRG pixel structures can be found in Samsung ISOCELL sensors, which are the biggest competitors to Sony's IMX sensors.
Correspondingly, Super Res Zoom now works on various smartphones with ISOCELL sensors in the latest GCam app. Rahman has shown the effect that Super Res Zoom has on a Mi 10T or Mi 11, which we have included below. Google has not commented on why it has enabled Super Res Zoom for GBRG sensors, but we suspect that it would only do so if it planned to use one at some point.
It is unclear why sensor Google would use, too. Assuming that Google would equip a future Pixel with at least a 12 MP camera, then it could be any one of over 35 ISOCELL sensors that Samsung currently lists on its website. The GN2 is the most advanced of those, which can be found in the Mi 11 Ultra. This would be a huge step up in imaging performance for the Pixel series though, so it would be a surprise if Google made the leap from the IMX363 to the GN2 for the Pixel 6.