updated 9/19/2006 7:24:26 AM ET 2006-09-19T11:24:26

Toshiba is recalling 340,000 laptop batteries worldwide made by Sony Corp., the latest in a series of problems for the company.

While the latest battery problem causes the laptops to sometimes run out of power, no injuries or other accidents have been reported, Toshiba Corp. spokesman Keisuke Omori said Tuesday. She declined to provide the number of reported problems.

The defect is not directly related to the problem behind last month’s recall of Sony batteries by Dell Inc. and Apple Computer Inc., which cited concerns that the batteries could overheat and catch fire.

Dell asked customers to return 4.1 million faulty laptop batteries, while Apple recalled 1.8 million batteries worldwide.

In both those cases, the troubled lithium-ion batteries were made by Sony Energy Devices Corp., a Japan-based subsidiary of Sony Corp.

Tuesday’s recall affects 100,000 laptop batteries in the U.S., 45,000 in Japan, and the rest in other parts of the world, Omori said.

The problems are found in some of the battery packs for Dynabook and Satellite laptop models manufactured by Tokyo-based Toshiba from March through May this year, and they will be replaced for free, he said.

Crucial time for Sony
The series of production problems at Sony comes at a crucial time when the Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment company behind the Walkman portable player and PlayStation video game machines has been trying to bolster its brand image under the leadership of its first foreign executive, Welsh-born Howard Stringer.

Earlier this month, Sony said it would postpone the European launch of its PlayStation 3 by four months to March over problems with producing a component in the Blu-ray disc part of the machine.

The much-awaited upgrade console is set to hit stores in November in the United States and Japan as planned, but fewer units will be available, according to Ken Kutaragi, the executive in charge of the project.

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.

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 — both popular electronics products in recent years. Sony has been successful in selling slimmed down TVs lately, with panels made in a joint venture with Samsung.

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