Sony is to carry out a global recall of "certain" lithium-ion laptop batteries, "to address concern related to recent over-heating incidents". The company says that it will, "consult with its OEM customers that utilize these battery cells and work with those that choose to participate regarding quantity and the scheduling of replacement battery packs".
Bottom line? Sony has realised - perhaps at the prompting of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission - that it's got to start getting pro-active. Otherwise, it risks watching its huge lithium-ion battery business - which extends beyond laptops into other areas, notably camcorders - disappear straight down the toilet.
After the massive recalls of batteries that Sony supplied to Dell, Apple, Toshiba and, most recently, IBM and Lenovo - already totalling close to seven million - everyone's assuming, right or not, that the batteries it supplied to all other laptop makers over the same at-risk period may also present fire hazards and that the same is true of lithium-ion batteries used for other applications.
And, of course, consumer faith in Sony's high-profile brand has already taken a terrible beating in the last year or so over DRM rootkit malware and delays to and high-pricing of Blu-ray Disc hardware and the PS3 games console.
Toshiba was one of the first to react to Sony's global-recall announcement - despite the fact that it still maintains that its recall notice of September 19 was not because batteries it bought from Sony were in danger of catching fire.
According to various reports, Toshiba's initial recall of 340,000 batteries may be extended by a further 830,000 batteries (though some say that is the all-up figure). Tosh itself appears not to have formally announced numbers but there is no doubt that it is extending the recall as this statement makes clear:
Toshiba has no evidence that the overheating issue that has occurred in Dell and Apple computers associated with Sony batteries is present in Toshiba notebook computers.
However, in order to ensure customers’ relief in using our computers, we are planning to cooperate with Sony to initiate a voluntary replacement program of battery packs installed in our Toshiba notebook computers that have the subject Sony batteries. Toshiba will provide more details as soon as information is available. Please return and review this site for further information.
The aforementioned notice is not related to the Battery Pack Exchange Program announced on September 19, 2006 . For information regarding the September 19, 2006 announcement, please visit: http://bxinfo.toshiba.com
So, who will be next to announce a recall (extended or new) and what will be the response to Sony's recall offer by laptop makers in the UK and elsewhere in the EU who are its OEM customers but don't do business in the USA and thus aren't under the watchful eye of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission?
Check out Sony's global-recall press release on page two then share your thoughts with us in this thread in the HEXUS.lifestyle news forum.
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External.linksSony Corporation - Sony to Initiate Global Replacement Program for Notebook Computer Battery Packs
Toshiba - battery recall page (September 28 - addition recall imminent)
Toshiba - battery recall page (September 19 recall)
Lenovo - battery recall page
Lenovo - battery recall FAQ
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Lenovo and IBM Announce Recall of ThinkPad Notebook Computer Batteries Due to Fire Hazard
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Recalls and product safety news
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Apple Announces Recall of Batteries Used in Previous iBook and PowerBook Computers Due To Fire Hazard
Apple - Battery Exchange Program iBook G4 and PowerBook G4
Apple - FAQ - Battery Exchange Program iBook G4 and PowerBook G4
Dell USA - Battery Recall page
PC Mag - Update: Sony To Ask Notebook Battery Customers For Global Recall
SiliconValley.com - Dell recalling 100,000 more Sony PC battery packs
EFF - More on the Sony BMG settlement