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by Mike Zazaian October 4, 2006 - 11:18am, 3 Comments

An IBM laptop victimized by a faulty Sony battery

In the wake of recalling more than 7.7 million laptop batteries from top notebook manufacturers, Sony is gearing up to launch a battery recall of its own.

The announcement comes a few days after Consumer Reports’ allegation that an upcoming Sony recall would include DVD players and portable game devices. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), which is working alongside Sony to plan its recall of its lithium-ion batteries, says that the recall will only involve batteries from Sony notebooks. Said CPSC spokesman Rick Clancy:

Sony has provided a wealth of technical data to the CPSC involving this tech, and it is omnipresent in a host of portable electronic devices, but as far as we know, from Sony’s perspective, there is no initiative planned at this time that goes beyond what has already been communicated with respect to notebook computers.

While no official announcements have been made by Sony itself, the notion of a recall extending beyond laptop computers came from Julie Vallese, another CPSC spokesperson. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Vallese made the following statement when questioned about the recalls:

The upcoming Sony recall could very well expand beyond notebook computers and could include DVD players and portable gaming devices. The risk of a battery fire is low, but real.

While Sony’s exploding laptop batteries have gotten the most media attention, 47 instances have been reported in which batteries from Sony’s portable DVD players have started fires due to short circuit. The problem, as with the laptop batteries, occurs when small metal fragments circulate through the battery, causing short circuits that can result in fires. Interestingly, Vallese made a statement today that seems to contradict her previous proclamation about the recalls:

I think that the real way to look at it is that Sony is working with the CPSC to identify the widest scope of batteries that it may recall. Any recall that the agency will make will be limited to batteries that power notebook computers. We have no anticipation at this time beyond that.

It remains to be seen whether the Wall Street Journal misquoted Vallese, or whether Sony has re-nigged on a recall for other potentially hazardous consumer electronics. Either way Sony has yet to announce the launch date of its own recall, except to say it will likely be in October, as soon as possible.

[via ZDnet]