Obviously the main tragedy of the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami is a human one, and our thoughts go out to anyone directly involved or affected by the disaster.
But it looks like there could be an even wider fallout from the quake, as market research firm iSuppli says electronics components could be in significantly short supply as a result, leading to dramatic price increases.
While for the most part actual damage to electronic production facilities seems to be minimal, iSuppli suggests the disaster's impact on the transportation and power infrastructure could lead to supply disruptions, which will drive prices upwards.
Affected components manufactured in Japan could include flash memory, DRAM, microcontrollers, LCD panels and LCD parts and materials, with the firm pointing out the very real risk that global supply will be slowed or suspended altogether for the next two weeks – which is about the amount of excess component inventory available to take up the slack.
Any longer, and we could see costs passed down the line, with the shortages and their potential impact on prices set to linger until the third quarter, iSuppli warns.
Fortunately, most of Japan's major component makers are located well south of where the recent quake and the resultant tsunami hit the hardest, so have largely avoided serious damage.