Sony is warning owners of its new VAIO Fit 11A to stop using them immediately after discovering the hybrid laptops are at risk of catching fire, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company is currently in the process of notifying over 25,000 VAIO owners that their computers may include faulty batteries that are unsafe. The VAIO Fit 11A was introduced worldwide earlier this year, offering a small-screened take on its larger Fit convertible laptops, but has failed to make much of an impact. Sony says it's sold 25,905 of the hybrids in total, which includes 497 in the US, 7,158 in Europe, and 3,619 in Japan. It's likely that Sony will announce a formal recall shortly.
Sony is pulling out of the PC industry
The news comes as the company prepares to sell its PC division to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), a Japanese investment fund that will continue Sony's VAIO operations. It's speculated that the VAIO brand is unlikely to be used in the US, where it has struggled to compete with the likes of Lenovo, HP, and Dell. At the brand's height, it was seen by many as the hallmark of a great Windows machine, with high-end machines like the Z1 regularly appearing on top-rated lists.
Battery recalls aren't as common as they were last decade, when hundreds of thousands of faulty products were discovered, but there are still occasional issues. Global PC leader Lenovo was forced to recall over 150,000 battery packs for its popular ThinkPad line earlier this year after discovering similar problems, and every year there are isolated incidents of phones "melting" in owners' pockets.
We reached out to Sony for more information on the battery issue, and were told the battery packs were provided by a third-party supplier. "The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance, so we are advising those with affected models to switch off the unit and discontinue use." Sony UK is recommending customers use a hotline and serial number checker to determine the correct course of action to follow. At the time of writing there is no such tool available for customers in the US, but we'll update this article once Sony USA has provided us with more information.
Update April 11th 5:13AM: Sony has provided us with further guidance on the battery fault. The article has been updated to reflect the fresh information.