The new San Francisco-based startup Framework has been released with the goal of fixing an “incredibly broken” computing industry, as the CEO puts it. To combat it, Framework laptops are an ecosystem of pieces that come together into a computer that can constantly evolve.
Framework founder and one of Oculus’ original employees, says Nirav Patel The edge He wanted to address the major problems of the computer industry with his new company.
“As a consumer electronics company, your business model effectively depends on churning out constant tons of hardware and getting it to the channels, to the market, and into the hands of consumers, and then leaving it and letting it exist,” Patel. He says. “It encourages waste and inefficiency and ultimately environmental damage.”
To address this, Patel and his team created Framework – an ecosystem rather than a single product that can change and update various parts over time to allow for customization, easier repair, and of course, allows the device to improve with changes to technology.
The base Framework comes with a 13.5-inch 2256×1504 resolution display, a 60-frames-per-second Full-HD webcam, a 55 Wh battery, and a 2.87-pound aluminum chassis. It is powered by 11th generation Intel processors, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and 4TB (or more) of Gen4 NVMe SSD storage.
All of these parts, from the battery to memory to storage, can be swapped and changed over time, which is not particularly unusual for desktops, but is becoming rarer (or never existed before) in computers. laptops. But the Framework goes even further, offering the ability to even swap external parts like ports, the keyboard, or even the screen and bezels (which are held in place by magnets).
The company will also offer a “DIY” kit of parts you select at the time of purchase, allowing customers to build their own laptops at home and install Windows 10 Home, 10 Pro or Linux. Of course, all those parts are also replaceable and upgradeable at any time.
Framework will support these interchangeable parts through its own launch marketplace that will serve as a hub for parts buying and selling. That marketplace will serve as a centralized point for consumers, but will be open to third-party sellers and resellers. Framework hopes that those who break a component or just want to replace it with something else will know that it is easy to find what they are looking for in the Framework market instead of having to search the internet for the best options.
The concept sounds great, but how The edge points out: it’s been done before and it’s failed Intel tested modular computers and failed, Compute Card’s Ghost Canyon NUC hasn’t been able to keep up with new parts, and Alienware’s Area-51m also didn’t get the future-proof parts that were promised. The success of the Framework will depend solely on its ability to keep up with the promise of parts that customers will actually want to upgrade, and relying on third-party vendors to do so up front is unlikely to be enough.
Patel believes that companies that have failed on this concept in the past did so because they did not dedicate themselves to it, and since this is the entire business strategy of Framework, its outcome will be different.
Framework will begin receiving pre-orders this spring and anticipates shipping will begin in the summer. For now, no pricing has been announced, but Patel says The edge expect it to be “comparable to other well-rated notebooks.”
(via The Verge)