Due to the events that followed the Thailand flooding, production of hard drives were severely affected.
Prices for hard drives are soaring as the supply gets weaker.
Seagate has either halved or taken a chunk of the warranty period off of the usual 5-year-warranty period. Apart from when you buy their hard drives directly, those that are pre-installed onto your laptops or PCs now have new warranty periods that last only 1 year.
Western Digital (aka WD) is slightly forgiving: 3 years now cut to 2.
This warranty change has taken into effect on New Year 2012.
If you love your data and photos, be sure to make backups to another hard drive(s). Or get a flash/thumbdrive