A San Francisco-based tech startup called ‘Framework‘ is launching a modular laptop that it says can be modified, upgraded and customized above and beyond any other laptop.
It’s an intriguing premise, and while Framework isn’t the first to take a run at modular computer hardware, it seems more dedicated to the cause than others.
“This is not something we’re dabbling in. It’s not a side project for us that someone thought was interesting. This is the core of our company,” Framework founder Nirav Patel told The Verge.
Patel also touted the environmental benefits, explaining that most tech companies push out products in a way that encourages wasteful upgrading.
The Framework Laptop — which Patel views as more of an ecosystem than a single product — hopes to encourage less wasteful upgrades and repairs by making many of the parts interchangeable. It sports a 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504 pixel screen, 1080p 60fps webcam, a 55Wh battery and a 2.87lb aluminum chassis. On the inside, customers can equip the Framework Laptop with an 11th Gen Intel processor, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory and up to a 4TB SSD.
While several laptops available on the market let you upgrade many of those parts, Framework goes above and beyond in a few ways. For one, the Framework Laptop also allows users to upgrade external components, like the keyboard, screen or bezels (which are attached using magnets). There’s even a swappable port system so you won’t need any dongles.
Another way Framework plans to set itself apart is by hosting a centralized digital marketplace for buying and selling parts. The company plans to open the system to third-party retailers. Through this system, customers will be able to purchase components to modify or repair their laptops. Laptop components include a QR code that people can scan to get a link to a webpage to buy a replacement.
Finally, Framework plans to offer pre-built systems and kits for enthusiasts who want to assemble the entire laptop themselves. The do-it-yourself (DIY) kit will also let users pick their own operating system, whether that’s a Windows 10 installation or a Linux distribution of their choice.
Framework’s website says the company will ship the laptop starting summer 2021. Those interested can sign up for an email notification when pre-orders go live. However, the company hasn’t shared any information about pricing or Canadian availability yet. Hopefully, those details come soon.