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Samsung isn’t the first with a 1TB phone, but this Chinese company slipped away into dust

By Jules Wang February 5, 2019, 6:00 pm

Who wants a phone with a terabyte of built-in storage? Samsung looks to be making one in the Galaxy S10+. But it wasn’t the first.

Back last May, Chinese manufacturer Smartisan announced the Nut R1. It was an unremarkable Android-based flagship device with dual cameras, a Snapdragon 845, up to 8GB of RAM. The thing was, it also could have up to one terabyte of proper UFS 2.1 storage. And it had a fitting price tag to make it possible: ¥8,848 or nearly $1,400 at the time.

You would think that the blooming spec-head audience in China would’ve been flocking like seagulls over bread with this device. Smartisan CEO Luo Yonghao has used his bully pulpit to criticizing Apple and Xiaomi for falling away from true innovation, though he couldn’t muster a paying fan base to support his business — few were willing to pay for the base model.


Chinese media reports that over the past 4 years, the company has sold only 3 million phones. The trend doesn’t look to improve: the South China Morning Post‘s Abacus unit reports that the company was late in cutting December checks to employees and had its assets frozen shortly thereafter with suppliers owed debts. Reports claim that ByteDance, the China-based company behind TikTok, has acquired some intellectual property and employees.

Can Samsung make the case for a terabyte phone? It’s reported to cost near €1,600 or $1,825 — the chaebol’s own research and development of a 1TB UFS 2.1 chip may have inflated pricing here. Even with lengthening upgrade cycles, apps and practicality may limit how much of that storage gets used at any point in time. We’ll have to see how consumers react.


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