How good does the camera in your pocket need to be? Well, if your name is Samsung, the answer appears to be "extremely" good. Samsung has started rolling out a new version of the Samsung Camera app in One UI 2.0 beta 4, and a quick tear-down of the new APK (courtesy of XDA Developers) reveals a few interesting secrets. APK stands for Android Package Kit. These files are what the Android operating system uses to distribute and install applications, in some ways similar to an EXE file on Windows. These APKs can also be decompiled using a software tool to reveal their contents.
In this case, the teardown uncovered a number of strings which indicate support for 8K 30fps and 4K 120fps video recording, as well as photo resolutions up to 108 megapixels. Currently, flagship smartphones top out at 4K 60fps and an 8K frame contains four times as many pixels as 4K, so this represents an effective doubling in video capabilities.
On the photography front, most flagship phones have rallied around 12 megapixels as a standard. This supports the 8 megapixels needed by a 4K frame with some headroom. 12 megapixels provides an excellent balance of detail with still manageable file sizes. 8K, on the other hand, equates to 7680 × 4320 or about 33.2 megapixels, so it requires a much higher resolution sensor. Samsung appears to be pushing that to the max with 108 megapixels to support this requirement.
ISOCELL Bright HMX Image Sensor
It is all speculation at this point, but even if the Samsung Galaxy S11 does surface with a 108 megapixel rear camera, it will not be the first. That title already belongs to Xiaomi with their Mi CC9 Pro and Mi Note 10. These phones use the 108 megapixel 1/1.33-inch ISOCELL Bright HMX image sensor announced earlier this year. This sensor was developed by Samsung in collaboration with Xiaomi, so it is only natural to assume this is the sensor we will find in the Galaxy S11.
Software and sensor support are only two parts of the equation. It also needs a chip capable of processing 8K video and 108MP photos. We already know Samsung's own Exynos 990 SoC is capable. We are still waiting for confirmation of the Snapdragon 865 from Qualcomm in December, but it stands to reason it will not be left out in the cold here. Samsung typically releases global variants of their Galaxy S devices with Exynos chipsets while US-bound versions rock Qualcomm's latest and greatest.
We will certainly know more as we near the Samsung Galaxy S11's official release early next year.