A shortage in LCDs will keep prices for desktop and notebook displays at their current levels, or even a bit higher, until new factories come online in 2003 and increase supply, say a pair of LCD makers at the US Society for Information Display conference being held in Boston this week. Global demand for LCDs outstrips the current supply by about 4 million units, says an anonymous Samsung spokesman. The shortage will cause the prices of all LCDs – including the ones used in TVs and handhelds, not just desktops and notebooks – to rise through the second or third quarter of 2003, he says. Samsung expects that prices on all LCDs will rise between £7 and £15 each per quarter, he adds. LG.Philips LCD, a joint venture between LG Electronics and Philips, also expects shortages until the middle of 2003, according to a spokesman who also declined to be identified. LCD prices have mostly stabilized for LG.Philips, largely due to traditionally weak second-quarter demand, he says. That could change in the third and fourth quarters of 2002, however, as those quarters are usually much stronger, he says, adding that the end of the year could see further shortages. Both companies, though, expect the shortages to be eased, and therefore prices to creep lower, as new manufacturing facilities go online in late 2002 and mid-2003. Samsung will be opening a so-called fifth generation plant in September or October, with LG.Philips following in mid-2003, the spokesmen says. DisplaySearch, a research and analysis firm that specializes in the display market, also expects prices to rise this quarter, but that rise should be the last one for a while, according to Barry Young, vice president and chief financial officer of DisplaySearch. As such, DisplaySearch is raising its forecast for LCD production, and expects that prices will come down, though the company isn't sure when that will happen, Young says. The rise in LCD prices has already hit some PC makers, with those costs being passed on to users. In March, Apple said it would raise the price on its latest iMac by $100 due to the rising cost of LCDs. The Society for Information Display show runs through Friday in Boston.