With so much technology development i'm still surprised companies like Sony and Panasonic have problem with their product safey. I beleive the issue has to be considered seriously by these companies and should have right product design for safety from day one.
Batteries are really a problem in portable electronic devices, there is no way one can do without it and the conformity of the batteries are totally dependent on the manufacturing line, which mainly is outsourced to small scale industries. More over there are constant up-gradations and researches are happening in improving the life time of the battery and charge holding capacity due it this the change in any of the materials need rigorous testing and which I think is not possible for small scale companies this is the reason why this kind of things are happening.
As batteries become commodity items which are used in everything from hybrid / electric cars to laptop computers, the potential for recalls across very different industries is about to become a reality. Currently we hear that a washing machine or a laptop computer has been recalled. I suppose one of these days we will read that there is a GM car / Sony computer / hospital defibrillator recall because they all share the same battery.