Nokia, the world's No. 1 mobile phone maker, warned today that over 46 million Nokia-branded BL-5C batteries manufactured by Matsushita could overheat and that it would replace them for customers at no cost. The company indicated there have already been over 100 incidents of the batteries overheating while being charged, and that no serious injuries or property damage had been reported. It also clarified that there were multiple manufacturers of this battery and only those by Japanese Matsushita Battery Company were affected. The cost to the company is expected to be around $100 million, and the supplier will likely bear some of the costs.
The following Nokia models use the battery in question:
This will likely be the largest consumer recall program ever, following on the heels of last year's Sony-manufactured laptop battery recall, used in Dell laptops, HP, Apple, and other manufacturers. Consumer recalls are not uncommon. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision reports over 15 recalls in August 2007 alone, including the million-plus toys recalled by Mattel Inc. There are reports that Mattel may announce another large toy recall soon. Fortunately, in the future, batteries might not need to be recalled. That is, if the paper battery recently announced by researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute takes off. The battery contains carbon nanotubes embedded in a sheet of paper, and can even be rolled up.