Laptop Battery Safety Group Speeds Up Efforts

The Portable Computer Battery Working Group held its first meeting this week and elected Jean Baronas, director of the Technology Standards office at Sony Electronics, and Bill Kabele, director of power engineering at Dell Corp., to co-chair the group.

"We made impressive progress in our first meeting by setting an organizational structure, reaching agreement on funding, and setting a development schedule," said David Ling, the former acting chair of the group, in a written statement. Ling also is the regulatory policy and strategy manager for Hewlett-Packard.

Kabele noted that approximately 50 people from 30 companies attended the group's first meeting.

In the past several months, notebook vendors including Apple, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, Lenovo, Panasonic, Sony, and Toshiba all have issued battery recalls. A percentage of the batteries were overheating and even caused fires, in a few cases.

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Those recalls may push some buyers to switch laptop brands, according to a recent survey by IDC, an industry analyst firm.

The IEEE Standards Association is a global standards-setting body.