Back in March a fire at LG Chem in South Korea sent stocks of notebook batteries up in smoke, leading to an overall shortage that has affected sales of laptop computers – especially those made by smaller, lower volume companies, which tend to receive lowest priority when supplies become available.

Some companies, such as Asustek Computer, have already said the shortage will crimp their laptop PC shipments this year. In fact, they claim its 5 million Eee PC sales target could have been even higher had it not been for the shortage. The supply of batteries is expected to return to normal by Q3 2008, however, with battery makers significantly boosting production just in time for September’s back-to-school sales boost as well as the holiday shopping season.