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Framework’s new Chromebook can be upgraded and customized

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Framework and Google have the new Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition. As the name implies, this is an upgradable, customizable Chromebook from the same company that released the Framework laptop last year.

User-upgradeable laptops are rare enough, but user-upgradeable Chromebooks are almost unheard of. While the size of the audience for such a device remains to be seen, it is certainly a step in the right direction for recoverability in the laptop space as a whole.

Multiple parts of the Framework are user-customizable, although it’s not clear whether every part that can be customized in the Windows Framework can be customized on the Chromebook. Each part has a QR code that, when scanned, calls up the purchase page for part replacement.

Most exciting (to me) is that the Chromebook edition includes the same expansion card system as the Windows edition, meaning you can choose the ports you want and where you want to place them. I don’t know of any other laptop, Windows or Chrome OS, where you can do this, and it’s easily my personal favorite part of Framework’s model. You can choose between USB-C, USB-A, microSD, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, fast storage,” and more,” according to the press release. HDMI in particular is a handy option to have on a Chromebook.

You can also upgrade memory and storage – I don’t necessarily expect the need for RAM and storage to be as high for most Chromebook users as it is for Windows users, but the option will be there for those who want it.

The edges are also interchangeable – they attach magnetically to the frame. All Framework Edges are compatible with the Chromebook edition, meaning there are a few different colors available and you should be able to click them on and off quite easily.

The following also seem to be replaceable, per Marketplace of Framework: hinge, sound card, bottom, touchpad cable. The following are currently listed as “coming soon” on Framework’s marketplace, but it looks like they’ll be replaceable at some point: keyboard, battery, power button, top cover. Framework’s FAQ says the company has “not announced any plans for a newer ChromeOS compatible motherboard at this time,” but the motherboard is listed as “coming soon,” so who knows?

All Framework Edges are Compatible with Chromebook Edition

Elsewhere, the Chromebook has a 2256 x 1504 3:2 display and weighs 1.3kg. Inside is a 12th generation Core i5-1240P (the processor can be upgraded in the Windows model, but nothing about that is mentioned here). There is a privacy switch to disable the camera and microphones. Framework also says: that the Chromebook’s speakers are louder than the Windows Framework’s, as well as a “more power optimized battery.” But the main reason to buy this laptop, if previous Framework models are any indication, will be that you as a user can fix it.

It’s not just the hardware that should last a while. Frame said in a tweet that Google will support the Framework Chromebook Edition “minimum 8 years”. Pre-orders start today in the US and Canada with a starting price of $999. Products will ship in early December.

Update September 21, 5:00 PM ET: Updated to add new details of Framework’s website.


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