Galaxy S22 could come with a 50MP RGBW camera sensor

The battle over the best smartphone for photography is far from over, especially with the Huawei P50 Pro once again tilting the tides in the embattled Chinese company's favor. Smartphone cameras have gotten larger, more sophisticated, and sometimes a little bit insane, but some improvements don't always come from upcoming or future technologies. Samsung's phones have shown arguably positive performance in that arena, and its next Galaxy S22 flagship could be taking lessons from the past and use an RGBW imaging sensor to improve its chances in the future.

Most people might be familiar with how sensors use RGB (short for red, green, and blue) pixels for imaging sensors, but that's a bit of a simplification. Given the square shape of pixels, most sensors actually use RGGB, with two green photodiodes to complete the arrangement. There are, however, other variants, like Huawei's RYYB (red, yellow, and blue), as well as an even older RGBW (red, green, blue, white).

This "panchromatic" RGBW arrangement isn't exactly new, and there have been attempts by the likes of Sony, Huawei, and Vivo to make it the next big thing in smartphones. While the RGB part of the sensor collects color data, the White (clear or unfiltered) pixel takes in any and all kinds of light to improve light sensitivity. The best-known example is perhaps the Huawei P8 in 2015, which was praised for its photography performance, especially in low-light situations.

Now it seems that Samsung will be using that technology for its own flagship. Responding to @Ice universe's tip, tipster @heyitsyogesh claims that a 50MP RGBW sensor will be making its way to select clients and will be seen on the Galaxy S22 series. RGBW sensors have been noted for sacrificing resolution for light sensitivity because of the loss of one green pixel. A 50MP sensor and advanced algorithms could help compensate for that.

Depending on its actual performance, this could help the Galaxy S22 get a leg up on the competition. The 2022 flagship has also been rumored to sport a 200MP sensor co-developed by Samsung and Xiaomi, but other sources have claimed that to be false.