Sony claims "update, not recall" for overheating laptops

Company issues software update to fix malfunctioning VAIO thermals
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Following reports of overheating, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said a voluntary recall was under way for F11 and CW2 laptops.

30 reports of overheating units including case warping and deformed keyboards had been received relating to the models which have sold over half a million units worldwide. However what the CPSC called a "voluntary recall" was painted in a different light when Sony told the BBC that a software patch was all that was necessary.

"The word recall has been used by the CPSC in the States, but we are not calling it that," Nick Sharples, Sony's European communications director told the BBC. "It is possible to update the firmware online, which will rectify the problem," he added.

The confusion appears to stem from the use of recall language initially since the CPSC currently recommends the update on its website without it being necessary to return the computers. 

This isn't the first time Sony has been hit by safety-related recalls, last October the company issued a recall of faulty AC adaptors, in 2008 an inspection regime of faulty laptop wiring had been instigated and then there was the much publicised 2006 lithium battery recall. 

As manufacturers compete by cramming as much powerfully hot hardware into the most compact spaces possible, with the lowest level of fan noise and with the lowest manufacturing costs, it's little wonder that the occasional model slips out which cuts things just that little bit too fine. 

It's perhaps surprising in light of the number of laptops sold worldwide that there are not more mass recalls and software updates.

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