Print 4 comment(s) - last by Stele.. on Sep 6 at 5:18 AM

Matsushita's recall pales in comparison to Apple and Dell

Matsushita, better known as Panasonic here in the United States, is recalling 6,000 notebook batteries due to possible overheating. Although nowhere near the scope of the 4.1 million batteries recalled by Dell and the 1.8 million units recalled by Apple, the recall comes as a time when notebook manufacturers are facing increased scrutiny over the safety of their battery packs.

A representative for Matsushita declined to comment on the manufacturer of the affected batteries, but did note that they were not produced by Sony. From Reuters:

The Matsushita spokesman said that when a notebook PC using the battery in question had been accidentally dropped on the floor or suffered any other strong impact, there was a chance that a tiny metal spring used in the battery pack could fall off on to battery cells, causing overheating.

The recall only affects Japanese-marker notebooks produced between the April 2005 and May 2005. We should also note that no injuries or cases of notebooks catching fire have been reported.

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RE: Why?
By Stele on 9/6/2006 5:18:59 AM , Rating: 3
Thank the average Joe. The overwhelming majority of buyers aren't your typical enthusiast or at least IT-literate consumer by any measure. Rather, they are the type that barely recognise/understand anything more on a PC spec-sheet than the price. This eases the entry and growth of cheap knock-offs and low-cost, corner-cutting brands because most people wouldn't know the difference anyway, except that one's a lot cheaper than the other.

Dell-style advertising (which puts enormous emphasis on the price tag first) doesn't help any, and so the good quality but expensive brands find it increasingly difficult to survive in an increasingly competitive world. The only quick and effective way out? Cut costs too. If the cheapo brands can get away with on-the-limit engineering in return for basement bargain costs, why not them too? I think Steve Jobs hit the nail on the head some twenty years ago while he was in NeXT, when he commented that "people don't want good computers. People want cheap computers".

So long as the vast proportion of consumers continue to possess and perpetuate this mentality, I suspect we will continue to see product recalls, safety violations, burning/exploding/overheating products and the like for some time to come.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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