Samsung 450MP Camera Sensor Could Take Mobile Photography To Ludicrous Levels

Smartphone cameras are growing more powerful and capable almost every year to the point that some DSLR camera makers have largely called it quits, affected by both mobile and mirrorless cameras. Major manufacturers can't seem to stop boasting about new camera-related innovations, whether they involve the imaging sensor itself or a dedicated ISP silicon. Of these companies, Samsung is perhaps the worst at inundating the market with sensors that cover a wide range of specs and prices — it also has some of the most excessive sensors known in the market, and there seems to be no stopping this trend. In fact, Samsung might be on the road to launching its most ambitious imaging sensor ever, with hints of a 450MP model in the pipeline.

It wasn't too long ago that a 64MP camera was considered a breakthrough innovation and a luxury. Even digital cameras today stick to 48MP sensors, proving that megapixel count isn't the sole criteria for quality images and videos. Thanks to Samsung's unwavering push, however, the smartphone industry has pretty much left digital cameras in the dust when it comes to that single hardware component.

Today, we have 200MP cameras as the latest and greatest, with Samsung and Sony butting heads over the crown. At the moment, Sony has the lead in terms of numbers, with a 200MP IMX989 1-inch camera sensor, while Samsung's existing ISOCELL HP1 and HP3 models have smaller sizes boasting the same pixel count. Furthermore, the latter company is expected to launch a new 200MP sensor before the year is over to go head-to-head with Sony again.

Samsung Hexa²pixel trademark teases high-resolution future

In the not-so-distant future, Samsung may even launch a 450MP sensor, which isn't that surprising judging by the company's innovation speed and tenacity. The possibility was revealed by GalaxyClub, which cites a Samsung registration of a trademark for Hexa²pixel. Of course, the trademark doesn't say what it's for, which is where some fan-made theories and calculations come in.

Samsung already uses its Tetra²pixel trademark to refer to its 4x4 pixel binning technology used in the 200MP ISOCELL HP1 to produce a 12.5MP image. Hexa²pixel would then mean that it is capable of combining 6x6 — or 32 pixels — into a single unit, which could mean that the sensor would need 400 million pixels to produce that same 12.5MP image. It could go even further to 450MP if 3x3 pixels can be used to produce a 50MP image, just like with the ISOCELL HP1's 2x2 configuration (via SamMobile).

Of course, these are just theoretical maximum figures, not to mention speculation based simply on a trademark. It's not implausible, given Samsung's tendencies, but it won't come without some costs, literally and figuratively. Such a sensor would naturally cost a lot more, and it would also take up more space inside. Hopefully, by the time it does arrive, prices and component sizes will have decreased considerably, making that 450MP sensor the equivalent of today's 200MP camera.