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Harari eyes the mother lode in the mobile arena: "There are a billion consumers coming on stream for cell phones that will be your TV, personal computer, personal communicator and entertainment device. That's our huge opportunity."
For both industries, thriving sales in consumer electronics have been key in boosting company profits even as they invested in research and development and cut per-gigabyte prices.
Seagate saw its fiscal 2005 earnings rise to $707 million on revenue of $7.5 billion, up from $529 million in income on sales of $6.22 billion the year before. SanDisk earned $386.4 million in 2005, on sales of $2.31 billion, up from $272 million on sales of $1.78 billion a year earlier.
Because the industry has continually reduced prices, Hitachi's Healy promises consumers won't have to break the bank to satisfy their storage needs.
"This is the vision of the future," Healy said, holding the mock 1-inch, 1-terabyte hard drive. It might take 20 years to get there, he said, "but it won't cost you anymore than it would today."