During development of the CF-C1, Panasonic interviewed company users of convertible PCs. We collected the grievances of many users when using other convertible PC in current market and discovered that the main complaint was the fragility of PCs caused by weak hinges that connect the display.
The typical convertible PC employs a 2-axis hinge system that allows two types of movement: display rotation, and opening and closing. This mechanism is used in the fully-rugged Toughbook CF-19 designed for use on worksites. However, since a one hinge handles two types of rotation, problems would arise, such as the hinge or body breaking, if there was no strength in the hinge itself or the body to which it was attached. With rugged bodies such as that of the CF-19, there is no worry about strength; however, convertible PCs that have a thin body tend to not have enough strength.
Also, since one hinge handles rotation in two directions, rotation is also possible when opened or closed. As a consequence, with regular laptops, it is difficult to keep displays fixed in the forward position. With laptops that have touch panels, the problem is that the display will unintentionally rotate when the user firmly presses near the edge of the display.
Moreover, if the PC is dropped, the display may open at an unnatural angle causing its edge to hit and damage the body. The dissatisfaction we heard about during our interviews mainly concerned problems with hinge constructions such as this when using other convertible PC in current market.
This is what we focused on when Panasonic decided to build a lightweight, business rugged convertible model. Ruggedness is an indispensable factor. However, if we used a rugged hinge and body such as that used in the CF-19, it would make it too heavy. To get around this, we developed the “Triple Hinge”.