Hitachi has now announced a 1-terabyte internal hard drive, claiming they're the first to unveil a 1 terabyte hard drive in the industry. It doesn't sound terribly impressive, given the fact that storage mediums are increasing faster than you can blink an eye.
However, they have done quite a feat if you look more closely. For one, the pricing is very attractive. This hard drive costs a mere $399, cheaper than a lot of smaller-capicitated portable hard drives. This makes it quite inexpensive to get the huge amounts of storage, which will especially attract server-storage people.
Secondly, they have made this the size of a regular hard drive. Any PC can be upgraded to this drive, simply by swapping out the old one with the Hitachi version, because Hitachi used the industry-standard, IDE connections. IDE looks like it is gradually getting replaced with Serial ATA, a faster technology, so look for a SATA-compatible 1 TB drive from Hitachi in the future.
It may seem like Hitachi is not the first to create a 1 TB drive. The hard drive manufacturer LaCie has been creating portable 1 TB drives for a while already. However, that was not truly a 1 TB drive, as it was simply two 500 GB drives in one case. Hitachi managed to get a whole terabyte into a regular drive, essentially doubling the drive's density when compared to the LaCie drive.
Hitachi's timing was perfect - right before the consumer electronics show.
Making a move like this is exciting, but it will not likely be picked up by the mainstream customers yet. Call me old-fashioned if you want, but I barely need more than 10 gigabytes for my data. This drive is 100 times larger than that. However, I can see it useful in servers, where IDE controllers are at a minimum. This drive might be their answer.
One thing that has not been mentioned is actual performance. Sure, almost any data size is achievable, provided you have enough room for it. But what about the speed of the drive? And how reliable will it be in the long-term? These questions are more likely to be asked by the type of people who need them most, that is the server and storage-folk, who cannot afford to lose data. This question can only be answered by test of time.