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And in related news, Sony holding its breath

In yet another chapter of “The Laptop Battery From Hell,” an IBM ThinkPad did its best Human Torch impression while boarding a flight at LAX. Anyone who has been following the Apple/Dell battery disaster would naturally think that a Sony battery must have been involved. Yes, a battery was clearly at fault, but the origin of said battery has yet to be clearly identified due to the severe burns the laptop suffered. A forum participant from Something Awful was live on location to take photographic evidence of the scene. This is his story:

So we're waiting for a flight in the United lounge at LAX, the flight next to ours was heading to London and in the middle of final boarding, when suddenly this guy comes running the wrong way up the jetway, pushing other boarding passengers out of the way, he quickly drops his laptop on the floor and the thing immediately flares up like a giant firework for about 15 seconds, then catches fire. About a hundred other people in the lounge jumped up and began a mix of gawking and general panic, I clearly heard a few fleeing individuals saying something about terrorists. [...]

CNET confirmed the story with a Lenovo representative, verifying that it was indeed a Thinkpad T43 which normally ships with a Sony battery. Both Lenovo and Sony are currently investigating whether or not a Sony battery was the culprit for the fire. Lenovo's two main suppliers for ThinkPad batteries are Sony and Sanyo.

This certainly does not bode well for computing travelers, as airlines are already banning the use of battery powered notebooks on flights. Either way, this incident is a black eye for both ThinkPad hardware manufacturers. Lenovo pleaded to the public to trust them, later saying that its laptops were immune to the flaming Sony battery problem due to a different battery design. In a similar reassuring tone, Sony proclaimed that there would be no more battery recalls. Time will tell if this will add to Sony's recall count of 340,000 from Toshiba, 1.8 million by Apple, and the 4.1 million by Dell.





"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis






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