TOKYO - Toshiba is recalling 340,000 laptop batteries made by Sony Corp. because of problems with recharging them, the latest in a string of embarrassing defects and production glitches for Sony.
The recall affects 100,000 batteries for laptops sold in the United States, 45,000 in Japan, and the remainder in other parts of the world, Toshiba Corp. spokesman Keisuke Omori said Tuesday, declining to quantify the number of problems reported by customers.
The defect is not directly related to the problem behind last month's recall of Sony laptop batteries by Dell Inc. and Apple Computer Inc., which cited concerns the batteries could overheat and catch fire. Dell asked customers to return 4.1 million faulty batteries, while Apple Computer Inc. recalled 1.8 million.
In both those cases, the troubled lithium-ion batteries were made by Sony Energy Devices Corp., a Japan-based subsidiary of Sony.
The Toshiba recall involves battery packs for Dynabook and Satellite models made from March through May this year, and they will be replaced for free, Omori said. The batteries sometimes stop recharging or run out of power, but no injuries or other accidents have been reported, he said.
The new recall also comes soon after production problems forced Sony to delay some key product launches.
Earlier this month, Sony said it would postpone the European launch of its PlayStation 3 video game machine by four months until March due to problems producing a component. In additional, while the much-awaited console is set to hit stores in November in the United States and Japan as planned, fewer units will be available, according to Ken Kutaragi, the executive in charge of the project.
And last week, Sony said it will postpone by a week until Sept. 23 the Japanese launch of its new digital Walkman because of a malfunction of an unspecified part of the portable music player.
The problems at Sony come as the electronics and entertainment company behind the Walkman portable music player has been trying to bolster its brand image under the leadership of its first foreign executive, Welsh-born Howard Stringer.
Sony has been fighting to make a comeback after falling behind Apple in portable music players and other rivals, including Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, in flat-panel TVs. Sony has been successful in selling slimmed down TVs lately with panels made in a joint venture with Samsung.
Sony shares edged down 0.8 percent to close at 4,930 yen ($42) in Tokyo, while Toshiba shares climbed 0.5 percent to 796 yen ($6.70).