Our mobile phones are genuinely amazing bits of kit, and it's easy to forget that. They are mini supercomputers that can fulfil all our digital needs, after all. However, as we use them for more and more, we place additional demands on manufacturers that can be hard to keep up with.
For example, our storage space needs have changed immensely. Back in 2000, the Nokia 3310 was capable of storing 250 contacts and seven custom ringtones (in addition to the 35 that came with the phone). That seems incredibly basic now, but back then it was more than enough when all we could do with our phones was call, text and play Snake.
However, we now have phones capable of downloading apps, playing music and video files, and much more. If you want to keep an average music collection on your phone, you'll need a good 20GB of space, if not more. A ten-episode season of a show like Game of Thrones could take up 40GB.
It's easy to see how storage space can fill up quicker than you might think. However, Huawei might be about to solve that, as rumours suggest the company is looking to release a phone with an unprecedented 512GB of storage space; double what most high-end phones can offer.
The rumour is actually backed up by some solid information from the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China. Huawei – a Chinese firm – has registered a mobile phone with the organisation, and the record is publicly available.
Unfortunately, it doesn't tell us much. The device – listed under the model name “NEO-AL00” – is “a dual SIM dual standby mobile phone” that runs on Android. However, one detail sticks out. On March 19th, Huawei added that the memory of the device would be 6GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
This would be a world first, as currently the maximum storage for any phone on the market is 256GB. However, doubling that in one move is not too far-fetched. Huawei might be the first manufacturer to attempt to bring out a 512GB phone, but Samsung has already taken steps towards making this a reality too.
The Korean tech giant announced in December of last year that it “has begun mass production of the industry’s first 512GB embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) solution for use in next-generation mobile devices”.
Huawei could well be using Samsung's eFUS hard drives, or the company could be manufacturing its own version. However, with two companies involved in producing phones with twice the storage space, it's clear this could be the next big thing in the smartphone world.
It might well be a necessity. While 512GB might seem like a lot – and it would be fairly excessive for the average user nowadays – the latest flagship smartphone comes with features that will require more storage space than before. For example, many devices that are coming out are capable of recording and playing video in 4K HDR.
The extreme high-definition and intense colour of these movie files take up a lot of storage space. Filming in 4K, for example, can use up as much as 400MB per minute. That means it would take less than 11 hours of video to fill up a 256GB phone. While you're unlikely to film that much yourself, you might be tempted to download a film in 4K, which would eat up a lot of your available space.
The amount our phones are capable of means there is an increased need for storage space, and Huawei appears to be reacting to that. It's unclear what phone will feature the 512GB hard drive – it seems unlikely to be the P20, which is scheduled to be fully announced on March 27th – but whatever it is could end up being a big seller.