Exploding batteries were no news to Dell, Sony

Dell issued a massive battery recall last week following a number of reports of exploding laptops, but the problem was not news to the company. According to a Sony spokesman quizzed by InfoWorld, Dell and Sony discussed hiccups with the affected batteries all the way back in October 2005 and then once again in February 2006.

Apparently, the problem was caused by metal particles that contaminated the batteries' Lithium-Ion cells. As a result of the talks with Dell, Sony beefed up its battery design with thicker cell linings to prevent metal particles from getting in. However, the recall was only initiated once the flaw was "clearly linked" to Dell notebooks catching fire. "We didn't have confirmation of incidents [involving fires] until relatively recently. We received reports, but didn't know if there were environmental situations not related to the systems themselves," the Sony spokesman told InfoWorld.

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