Framework's Promising Modular Laptop Gets A Marketplace For DIY Repairs And Upgrades
Laptops as a whole have never had a great track record for repairability or upgradeability, but the situation has gotten worse in recent years. Modern ultra-portable machines often come with soldered-down memory, integrated graphics, and even non-serviceable storage. On some systems, you can't even open the casing without permanently damaging it.
It doesn't have to be this way, though. Framework is a new company that is already selling its first laptop, simply known as the Framework Laptop. The machine looks about as sleek and compact as any other—even in comparison Apple's hardware—and it comes with the latest Intel CPU and your choice of a variety of other modern components. Despite that, it's completely repairable, and about as upgradeable as it could possibly be.
Of course, repairability doesn't mean anything if you can't get the parts. Fortunately, now you can. Framework just launched its marketplace full of add-on and replacement parts for its laptop. So far as we can see, every single part in the Framework laptop is currently listed on the marketplace, ranging from tiny pieces like the audio board kit or the fingerprint reader kit, all the way up to screens, chassis pieces, and full motherboard-and-heatsink combos.
The marketplace isn't just for replacement parts, though. Framework says that, market willing, it will be extending the site to support community-developed and even third-party modules for the Framework laptop. If community support continues to grow, then having such a base to build on could finally give us the "ATX equivalent" for laptops that enthusiasts have dreamed about for ages.
Thanks to some aggressive promotion from the likes of Linus Sebastian and key individuals in the Right to Repair movement, the Framework laptop seems to have been selling like hotcakes. It makes sense; with modern hardware, attractive looks, and a reasonable starting price—$999 for a base turn-key model, or $750 for one with some assembly required—the Framework seems like a no-brainer for enthusiasts looking for a portable PC. Here's hoping the company's marketplace plans pan out.