first_imgIf you purchase a hybrid, convertible, or touchscreen laptop running Windows 8, know this: there were some people who worked very, very hard perfecting a single component that you may never even think about while using your shiny new computer. This isn’t some fancy internal bit like the processor, GPU, RAM, or even the zippy SSD that lets these new PCs boot up in seconds. No, it’s the humble hinge that connects the display to the chassis and make that whole clamshell design possible.Poor hinges have hampered plenty of Windows laptops in the past, and that’s especially true of touchscreen laptops. Acer even went so far as to provide a sort of “back brace” for its Windows 7 laptops with touch displays to prevent them from scooting across a surface when poked by a user. With touch playing such an important role in the Windows 8 experience, researchers, engineers, and designers at companies like Dell, HP, Acer, and Toshiba devoted countless hours to making sure that new machines like the XPS 10 and Envy X2 would fold, twist, and flip perfectly. And not just initially, obviously. The hinges in these devices needed to deliver the same performance day in and day out for as long as they remained in working condition.HP design VP Stacy Wolff echoed something Microsoft’s Panos Panay said about the Surface at the company’s recent launch event in New York City: the hinge needed to feel like that of a luxury car door when a user opened or closed the device. Acer ultimately turned the entire skeleton that holds the touchscreen panel on its convertible into an extension of the hinge — rather than simply screwing the hinge to the base of the display.The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Worthen has written a fascinating article about how much the success of these new computers rests on their hinges. It’s well worth a read if you’ve got a few minutes to spare.More at Wall Street Journallast_img read more