Samsung trademarked the term “Hexa²pixel”, which is described in the filing as “image sensors for photographic devices”. This was spotted by GalaxyClub initially, now leakster Ice Universe has tweeted about the trademark, teasing the resolution of the sensor in question.
The leakster implies that this sensor will do 36-in-1 pixel binning (a group of 6×6 pixels merged into one), which is well above the current arrangements of Tetracell (2×2) and Nonapixel (3×3). If the target is 12MP output (as is with the other two) we can calculate the resolution.
It works out to 432MP, though it could be rounded to 450MP. Either way, it will more than double the resolution of the 200MP sensors from Samsung, the ISOCELL HP1 (1/1.22”, 0.64µm pixels) and the HP3 (1/1.4”, 0.56µm).
The ISOCELL HP3 color filter arrangement allows for 4-in-1 and 16-in-1 binning
Both HP sensors have “Tetra²pixel” color filters, which allows them to do both 4×4 and 2×2 pixel binning for 12MP and 50MP output, respectively. Given the “²” in the name of the new sensor, it will probably have two output modes as well.
6×6 and 3×3, perhaps? If so, it will be able to output 12MP and 48MP resolution images, respectively. Binning will be necessary since even if the sensor is huge, fitting that many pixels will make them pretty tiny.
A few years ago some leaks suggested that Samsung is working on sensors with resolutions as high as 600MP (with an insane 1/0.57” optical format), so this Hexa²pixel sensor may represent just the halfway point of what is coming in the next few years.