A new startup called Framework is working on an interesting project that takes modular technology to a new level. Framework Laptop is a lightweight concept machine that will be unlike any laptop you have seen on the market. The modular laptop is said to allow users to upgrade, customize and repair parts all by themselves.
Early concept reproduces the products a very Apple MacBook-inspired design which should not be surprising as the co-founder, Nirav Patel, himself is a former Apple employee. According to him, “As a consumer electronics company, your business model effectively depends on constantly emptying tons of hardware and pushing it into channels and into the market and into the hands of consumers, and then kind of drop it and let it exist out there. It encourages waste and inefficiency, and ultimately environmental damage. ” He also says that it is more than a product rather an ecosystem.
The laptop is planned to come with an aluminum frame with a 1
Framework also plans to sell the modules via a centralized online marketplace that will be open to partners to build and sell compatible modules. This will help potential customers easily find compatible replacements or upgrades without having to look around. The company aims to reduce electronic waste with its efforts by making the products longer. The laptop will be made of 50% recycled (PCR) aluminum by consumer and an average of 30% PCR plastic. Finally, the company will also introduce the Framework Laptop DIY Edition, for those who want to assemble the laptop on their own and tinker around. The DIY version also provides the flexibility to install the operating system of your choice, whether it is Linux, Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro.
The concept of ‘modular technology’ did not seem to work for any of the major technology brands. We saw Google try out a modular smartphone with Project ARA in 2014. By 2016, however, the project was canceled, and all we got were some concept videos that never came to fruition. In 2015, we heard about a modular smartwatch concept by ‘Blocks’ which was an attempt to create a modular smartwatch with interchangeable modules. To date, we have not seen any modular smartwatch come on the market. Similarly, Motorola launched the Moto Z in 2016 which brought the Moto Mods ecosystem, which had a decent start but ultimately led to a lot of money going to research and development. Let’s hope that Framework has a more solid approach and can actually make this concept a reality.