The worst thing about laptops is that you can’t upgrade them. Much. A new startup called Framework hopes to change that, by released a laptop you can improve over time. And not just the RAM and SSD, either. Everything from the screen to the keyboard can be swapped out, and there’s a modular section that can be put to many different uses.
Building a better Framework
In practise, based on what we’ve seen from the company’s website, most of the upgrades look like they’d come via a much more accessible notebook chassis — think fewer annoying clips and glued sections stopping you from swapping your RAM modules for something a little more… modern. The bezels can be swapped, as can displays and the battery
Not that the base machine isn’t thoroughly modern. It’s a 13.5in notebook with a 2,256 x 1,504 resolution, 11th-gen Intel processors, a 55Wh battery and a 1080p webcam. Users can spec it up to 64GB of RAM and with up to 4TB (or more) of storage.
But there’s also a modular port on the side of the notebook which can be turned to a variety of uses. If you’ve got a specific port requirement, you can swap in a USB-A, USB-C, DisplayPort or even additional storage. And, if you’re feeling particularly handy, you can order a Framework to be delivered in pieces so you can assemble it yourself. The expansion and other upgrade bits are set to be available on the company’s own marketplace, so you can convert your laptop to whatever needs you currently have.
The design looks like a simpler take on Project Ara, the never-quite-launched modular smartphone project that carried on for years before eventually fizzling out. Here’s hoping this startup has better luck — it’s a cool idea, one that’s set to launch a little later in 2021. A lot counts on just how many people adopt this new platform so, obviously, a larger response will see more modular, internally accessible notebooks becoming available.