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HP, Google Suspend Chromebook 11 Sales After Overheating Reports

Photographer: Mark LennihanAP Photo
Chromebooks, often priced at less than $500, run Google’s Chrome operating system, which is software that emphasizes Web browsing, video and the company’s online software for word processing and other tasks.

Google Inc. (GOOG) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) are halting sales of the Chromebook 11 laptop after some users reported overheating power supplies, a setback for the devices that have been gaining momentum with consumers.

The companies said in a statement yesterday that they are suspending sales of the laptop at Best Buy Co., the Google Play Store, Amazon.com Inc. and other outlets, and cautioned customers who have bought the laptop to avoid using the charger and get another one instead. The decision followed eight reports of overheating, some of which mentioned the charger melted, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. There were no reports of fires, the people said.

“We are working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify the appropriate corrective action, and will provide additional information and instructions as soon as we can,” the companies said in a blog post, without elaborating on when they would begin selling the device again. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Chromebooks, often priced at less than $500, run Google’s Chrome operating system, which is software that emphasizes Web browsing, video and the company’s online software for word processing and other tasks. Google has been adding new manufacturing partners as demand rises for the laptops. The devices snagged 3.3 percent of the market for back-to-school shoppers in the U.S. between June 30 and Sept. 7, up from zero a year earlier, according to the NPD Group.

Apart from Hewlett-Packard, hardware makers that have announced Chromebook devices include Toshiba Corp., Asustek Computer Inc., Acer Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd.

Overheating in laptops has caused problems for personal-computer makers in the past. In 2006, Dell Inc. and Apple Inc. (AAPL) recalled laptop batteries made by Sony Corp. because of overheating. The issue also affected computers made by Toshiba, International Business Machines Corp., Lenovo and Fujitsu Ltd.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at aricadela@bloomberg.net; and Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net

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