In just under 30 years, Seagate has become the first manufacturer to ship one billion hard drives, and it expects to double that number within the next five.
In recent years, worldwide shipments of hard drives has soared -- a statistic that's not surprising considering the advent of portable digital media players and rising demand for laptops, which are typically replaced much sooner than traditional desktop PCs, as well as online data storage.
According to research firm Gartner, 500 million hard drives were shipped last year, which represented a 15.3% increase over 2006. By comparison, in 1990, hard drive manufacturers shipped less than 30 million units in total.
Seagate shipped its first drive in 1979 -- the ST506 that could store just 5 MB of data. According to the company, it weighted 5 pounds and cost a whopping $1,500. Since that time, Seagate has shipped the equivalent of 79 million terabytes of storage space. Current desktop computer drives boast capacities of 1 terabyte, while laptop drives have reached the 500 GB mark.
The company says it plans to ship its two billionth hard drive in less than five years. However, growth in the industry has slowed quite a bit. IDC projects demand for hard drives to remain around 500 million units per year, only topping 600 million in 2010.
Seagate has posted a video to celebrate the milestone, which recounts the company's history from its creation behind a convenience store when it was known as "Shugart Technology."