Some Vaio users jolted by modem performance

Sony Electronics is notifying owners of certain Vaio notebooks that their modems might not perform as well as expected, unless customers were expecting an electrical shock.

Under improbable circumstances, owners of the Vaio PCG-FRV25 and PCG-FRV27 can receive a mild electrical shock similar to a shock received from static electricity, said a Sony spokeswoman. In order for this to happen, the notebook must be connected to a phone line, the user must be touching a metal surface on the notebook while grounded, and must receive an incoming phone call, all at the same time, she said.

Sony discovered the problem after users complained about slower-than-expected data transfer speeds in their built-in modems. No injuries have been reported, and as far as Sony is aware, no one has actually received an electrical shock, the spokeswoman said.

The two notebooks have been shipping in the U.S. since June, and Sony halted shipments once it discovered the problem with the modem speeds, the spokeswoman said. The slow modem speeds were a problem only when the notebook was connected to an external power source. The modems have since been fixed, and the notebooks are available through retail and direct from Sony, she said.

Sony offices in other areas of the world are responsible for notifying their customers, the spokeswoman said. These two particular types of Vaio notebooks were also sold in both Europe and Japan, she said.

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Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
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