Just when we thought it was safe to start penning the obituary for the good old-fashioned hard drive, along comes an industry expert to tell us we're wrong and that solid-state storage won't kill off the spinning platter.

The wise old head in question is Yoichiro Tanaka of Toshiba's Digital Media Network Company and he was speaking at a gathering of representatives of the hard-drive business in Japan.

Too much information

Not only did Tanaka dismiss the challenge from flash-based storage, he even speculated that spinning hard drives would soon be used to record 80 per cent of all man-made information.

To give an idea of just how vast that amount of digital data is, Tanaka pointed out that this year should see our species create a mind-boggling 120 exabytes of binary information. The rarely used exabyte is equivalent to 1,024GB multiplied by itself three times - in other words, over a trillion gigabytes.

More data for everyone

As for why he expects hard drives to bounce back from their recent sales dip, Tanaka admitted that the rise of flash memory in mobile gadgets encourages users to create and store more photos, videos and music than ever before due to its robustness.

However, standard 1.8-inch hard drives in particular will find new niches in camcorders and tiny laptop computers like the new MacBook Air.