Modular Framework laptop gets a marketplace for all those modules
Framework, makers of the modular 13.5-inch Framework laptop that’s designed to be easily repaired and upgraded, has launched a dedicated marketplace filled with replacement parts and upgrades for its portable computer. Writing in a blog post, the company said the marketplace is currently focused on replacement parts and expansion cards, but that it hopes to add more customization modules like additional language keyboards later this year, as well as third-party and community developed modules in 2022.
It’s an important step for the modular laptop, which has been shipping for a little over two months. After all, the laptop’s 10/10 iFixit score for repairability doesn’t matter much if you can’t get a spare part when a component fails. And who cares if a laptop is upgradeable if there aren’t any interesting modules that are actually available to upgrade it with.
The marketplace already includes a range of expansion cards for the laptop, which are designed to slot into its four modular compartments to add everything from extra storage to features like MicroSD card slots or more USB ports. There’s also user upgradeable RAM and storage for sale. But the store is clearly a work in progress, and lists a host of other items like replacement CPU-equipped mainboards, keyboards, and spare parts like batteries and displays as “coming soon.”
Framework has made a solid start at making sure its laptops can be easily repaired when they break, but it’ll be a while longer before we know if it’s truly delivered on its promise of a laptop that can be upgraded over time. It’s a promise that’s been made many times over the years. Just last year, Dells’ attempt at an upgradeable laptop with the Alienware Area-51m, unravelled just one model later.
There have been similar high profile attempts to bring modular designs to smartphones. But over the years, attempts from companies like LG, Google, and Motorola have failed to make much of an impact. Sustainable smartphone manufacturer Fairphone has seen more success, and recently announced its new Fairphone 4 smartphone. But Fairphone’s focus has always been more on easy repairs for longevity, rather than offering upgraded components over time.
If you’re interested in picking up a Framework laptop for yourself, the prices start at $999 for an assembled model with an Intel i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. There’s also a model with a more affordable $749 starting price if you’re happy to do some assembly, or more expensive pre-assembled versions with faster Intel i7 CPUs, and more RAM and storage. All versions come with a 13.5-inch 3:2 2256 x 1504 display, a 1080p webcam, and 55Wh battery. As of this writing, Framework’s website says new orders are due to ship next month.