Mhh, I think some guy on the internet wrote a free book on the esp8266, I think he goes by 'nkolban', you should take a look at his book ;-)
The esp-01 modules have 512KB flash. The flash layout is described in https://github.com/espruino/EspruinoDocs/blob/master/boards/EspruinoESP8266.md#flash-map-and-access as far as I can tell, people, especially beginners are still using these routinely.
On larger modules we could use 1MB. On modules 2MB and up there's a layout that supports OTA with 1MB partitions. This is all described in Espressif's "user guide" or "OTA guide". But it's not just a matter of flipping a switch, there are a whole bunch of places that need changes, so to use that someone would really have to roll up their sleeves and make all the changes and get them reviewed.
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