Seagate projects that although it took 29 years to reach the 1 billion milestone, the company will ship its next billion in less than five years.
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, Seagates 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 $1,500, or $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 1/5000th of a cent ($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.