By James Wells

SYDNEY: Virgin Blue has announced that passengers boarding its planes with Dell laptops, must travel with the batteries removed, following the largest recall in consumer electronics history.

A report in today’s Australian Financial Review quotes a Virgin Blue spokesperson which confirmed that the defective batteries must be removed, rendering the products useless while in flight.

Virgin has followed Qantas, who issued a statement earlier this week, advising that the recalled Dell Laptops could be taken on board and its aircraft and operated in flight, but with restrictions. Qantas customers must either use the Dell laptops with the battery inserted and use no power from the aircraft’s mains power or they can use the laptops with the aircraft’s mains power with the battery removed.

Dell has also announced its has withdrawn from the mp3 market less than a year after it introduced the DJ Ditty music players with flash memory in North America to compete with Apple’s iPod Shuffle.

Like the iPod Shuffle, the DJ Ditty was priced at $US99 and featured 512MB of memory. Dell claimed its product was superior to the iPod Shuffle as it featured a one-inch LCD screen and an FM radio receiver as well as a compression format which stored twice the number of digital music files.

Dell said the company is trying to focus on its core areas of personal computers, printers and flat panel televisions.