Sony warns Vaio batteries can overheat, catch fire

Sony warns Vaio batteries can overheat, catch fire

PanARMENIAN.Net - Sony Corp. said Friday, April 11, there was a risk that batteries made by Panasonic Corp. in nearly 26,000 of Sony's newest Vaio personal computers could overheat and catch fire, the latest product glitch for the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant, the Wall Street Journal reports.

As a result, Sony is asking customers to stop using its Vaio Fit 11A laptop as soon as possible.

Sony said it had received three reports of batteries overheating causing partial burns to Vaio computers.

The first incident was in Japan on March 19, followed by similar incidents on March 30 in Hong Kong and April 8 in China. The company stopped selling the product at the beginning of this month.

The model is the final version of the Vaio series. Sony unveiled plans in February to sell its personal computer business as part of a strategy to deal with its two most troubled electronics units, televisions and personal computers. The company will also split off its money-losing TV division into a separate subsidiary.

In announcing the sale of its personal computer business to turnaround fund Japan Industrial Partners Inc. in February, Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai called the decision "agonizing."

Sony said in a statement Friday it was identifying the affected computers by serial number and developing a program to repair or replace them. It said the company would provide details on its home page within two weeks.

The company said it had sold a total of 25,905 units of the Vaio Fit 11A world-wide since it first went on sale in February. Of these, nearly 7,000 were sold in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan and China. About 3,600 were sold in Japan, 2,000 in China, 7,000 in Europe, 5,600 in Latin America, and 500 in the U.S.

A Panasonic spokeswoman confirmed the company had provided the batteries to Sony under an outsourcing contract. She declined to say which other computer makers had received Panasonic batteries, as such information is confidential.

However, she said the batteries are customized according to clients' requirements and differ depending on client. She said Panasonic hadn't heard of any problems with batteries supplied to other clients.

In 2010, Sony said it was recalling about 535,000 Vaio laptops world-wide due to a temperature-control defect that may cause excessive heat and distort the shape of the laptop.

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