Seagate Technology is the first hard drive manufacturer worldwide to have shipped one billion hard drives – a number emblematic of the massive amount of digital content being created.
The company says the one billion hard drives delivered equates to approximately 79 million terabytes, able to store 158 billion hours of digital video or 1.2 trillion hours of music.
Seagate projects that although it took 29 years to reach the one billion milestone, the company will ship its next billion in less than five years. Thy also claims that by the time its nearest competitor reaches one billion drives shipped, Seagate will already be close to shipping its second billion.
Seagate’s billionth drive milestone comes as hard drive shipments continue to increase dramatically. According to Gartner Group, last year alone more than 500 million drives were shipped, compared to 1990, when slightly less than 30 million were shipped.
In 1979, Seagate’s first product, the ST506 hard drive, could store 5 megabytes of data or the equivalent of one MP3 song. The drive weighed about five pounds and cost US$1,500, or US$300 per megabyte.
Today, a typical Seagate hard drive offers a terabyte of data (or 1 million megabytes), which has enough capacity to record 32 days of high-definition video around the clock – at a cost of 1/50th of a cent (US$0.00022) per megabyte.
The rapid growth of digital content continues to come from a wide range of sources. For example, analysts estimate that there are over one billion digital still and phone cameras in the world and that those devices accounted for 250 billion created images in 2006. It is predicted that user-generated content sites (like Flickr and YouTube) will produce 65 billion downloads/views by 2010.