If there's one good thing that can be said about 9.6 million recalled batteries, it is that it has inspired the companies behind them to built a better one. As part of Sony's replacement plan, Matsushita is now working on the development of a new type of Li-ion battery, one that is pre-IEEE standard. Free from the overheating and other defects of other models (so they say), the new batteries will likely cost more to produce, and thus ultimately cost the consumer more:

Notably, the company asserted that while actual pricing would depend on the quantity ordered, it would be "higher than existing models" regardless -- which makes sense considering all the loot Sony is losing from this fiasco.
Of course, Sony is eating the cost for anyone who had to get a battery replaced in their existing products. What other changes will a redesigned battery bring? Sadly, probably not much the standard the IEEE is pushing is soley intended to make batteries safer, not longer lasting. Then again, not having to worry about a battery bursting into flames is a pretty good thing.