Burn Notice: Possible Fire Hazard in Sony Vaio Sold in February

Sony announced on Friday that it has pulled its Vaio Fit 11A laptop off the market due to potential harm it could inflict on consumers. So far, Sony has sold 25,905 units worldwide, and is now asking those owners to stop using the laptop as soon as possible.

So what's going on? The problem resides with the Panasonic-made laptop battery, which are overheating and causing partial burns to the Vaio Fit 11A. The first incident took place in Japan on March 19, followed by an incident in Hong Kong on March 30 and in China on April 8. Coincidentally, this is the final model on Sony's Vaio series.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Sony said that it is currently identifying the affected laptops by serial number, and is developing a program to repair or replace the affected units. Additional details surrounding the recall will be made on Sony's website within two weeks.

According to the company, Sony sold around 500 of these laptops in the United States after they went on sale in February. Nearly 7,000 were sold in Asia-Pacific, about 3,600 were sold in Japan, 2,000 in China, 7,000 in Europe, and 5,600 in Latin America.

A Panasonic spokeswoman confirmed on Friday that the company had indeed provided Sony with laptop batteries under an outsourcing contract. She said she hasn't heard any complaints from the other customers using the same battery, but did admit that the batteries provided to Sony are customized and differ depending on the client.

The battery problem arrives after Sony announced its intent to sell off its PC business to Japan Industrial Partners Inc (JIP) at the beginning of February. "The Company has determined that concentrating its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets and transferring its PC business to a new company established by JIP is the optimal solution," Sony said.

This isn't Sony's first time to recall a Vaio laptop. The company called back 535,000 VPCF11 and VPCCW2 models in June 2010, saying that they may "overheat due to a potential malfunction of the internal temperature management system, resulting in deformation of the product's keyboard or external casing, and a potential burn hazard to consumers."

Vaio owners were instructed to download and install new firmware specifically designed to prevent the potential overheating symptom. Perhaps that may solve the new problem as well.