A new startup by the name of Framework is working on an interesting project that takes modular technology to a new level. The Laptop Framework is a lightweight machine concept that won’t look like any laptop you’ve seen on the market. The modular laptop is said to allow users to upgrade, customize, and repair parts themselves.
Early product designs feature a design very inspired by the Apple MacBook, which shouldn’t be surprising as co-founder Nirav Patel is a former Apple employee himself. According to him, “As a consumer electronics company, your business model actually depends on producing constant tons of material and getting it through the channels, into the market and into the hands of consumers, then dropping it and by letting it exist. It encourages waste and inefficiency, and ultimately environmental damage. ” He also says it’s more than a product rather than an ecosystem.
The laptop is expected to come with an aluminum chassis with a 13.5-inch 2K (2256 x 1504 pixel) display and an 11th Generation Intel processor with up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM and PCIe Gen 4 NVMe storage ranging up to 4TB or even more. The laptop is also expected to have a 1080p 60fps webcam and a 55 Wh battery. As for the upgrade possibilities, it is said that you will be able to swap out the internals including memory and storage. Wi-Fi card and battery. The Framework Laptop also provides the ability to upgrade external components including the keyboard, I / O ports through an expansion card system, and the display with the magnetically detachable bezels. The company also hopes to address the concerns of users who don’t like carrying dongles or adapters with its variety of interchangeable port options. Expect these to come in USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, microSD, high-speed storage, and even a headphone amp.
Framework also plans to sell the modules through a centralized online marketplace that will be open to partners to build and sell compatible modules. This would help potential customers easily find compatible replacements or upgrades without having to search. The company aims to reduce electronic waste through its efforts in extending the life of its products. The laptop will be made of 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) aluminum and an average of 30% PCR plastic. Finally, the company will also present the Framework Laptop DIY Edition, for those who want to completely assemble the laptop on their own and tinker with it. The DIY version also offers the possibility of installing the operating system of your choice, whether it is Linux, Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro.
The concept of “modular technology” doesn’t seem to work for any of the big tech brands. We saw Google try their hand at a modular smartphone with Project ARA in 2014. However, in 2016 the project was canceled and all we got were concept videos that never came to fruition. In 2015, we heard about a modular smartwatch concept from “Blocks” which attempted to create a modular smartwatch with interchangeable modules. To date, we have not seen any modular smartwatches hit the markets. Likewise, Motorola released the Moto Z in 2016 which brought in the Moto Mods ecosystem, which had a decent start but ultimately led to a lot of money for research and development. Hopefully Framework has a more solid approach and can actually make this concept a reality.