Google collaborated with third-party company Framework to create a customizable and upgradeable Chromebook (opens in new tab) portable computer.
As a company, Framework specializes in developing do-it-yourself (DIY) laptops that people can upgrade on their own with nothing more than a screwdriver, the parts the company supplies and a little patience. Now how Frame Laptop Chromebook Edition (opens in new tab)customizable laptops have entered a new frontier as repairability in the tech sector takes a firmer hold.
Be aware that not everything about the Chromebook Framework is customizable.
Starting with the more static aspects, the laptop comes with a high resolution 13.5-inch screen (2256×1504 pixels) and a 1.5mm keyboard, all housed in a chassis partially made from recyclable material. Under the hood, it’s powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1240p CPU made up of 12 individual cores and a 55 Wh battery that can last up to 10 hours on a charge.
As you’d expect, the Chromebook Framework runs on ChromeOS, something the company’s previous offerings could technically do. But, as a company representative told us, these older models used Chrome OS Flex (opens in new tab) while this new device has the full ChromeOS experience. This gives the laptop the ability to download Android apps from the Google Play Store, something the Flex models couldn’t do. Users can also run Linux applications if they are developing software and playing games, thanks to Steam on Chrome OS Alpha
What is customizable are the ports, RAM and storage. According to the company, you can choose the doors you want and which side you want, thanks to the Expansion Card system. Supported inputs include USB-A, USB-C, MicroSD, HDMI and Ethernet, just to name a few. For RAM and storage, the Chromebook comes with 8GB of DDR4 and 256GB of space. They can be upgraded to a maximum of 64GB of DDR4 and 1TB of storage. Also, you can increase the storage with another terabyte through expansion cards that are under the laptop.
Privacy and Availability
For privacy, the Chromebook Framework has a series of switches around the body that cut power to the camera and microphone when not in use. from Google itself Titan C (opens in new tab) security chip is present to protect you from phishing and hacker attempts. Because of this chip, the Chromebook will receive continuous updates from Google until June 2030.
The same rep told us that the Titan C cannot be removed because it is “an integral part of the electrical system”. However, you can put the laptop into “Developer Mode”, allowing you to download custom firmware and software outside of Google.
O Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition is currently available (opens in new tab) for pre-order with a price of $999, but only in the United States and Canada. You won’t have to pay the full price initially, as “only a fully refundable $100 deposit” is required at the time of pre-order. You’ll pay the rest when the laptops start shipping in early December.
As for a global release, it appears there are no plans for that just yet, but the same rep hinted at a possible announcement.
Overall, it’s good to see more and more companies adopting customizable or repairable devices. This new attitude will go a long way in reducing e-waste and saving money. Arguably one of the more robust repair programs comes from Samsung, who collaborated with iFixit for parts. It is highly recommended to check Coverage this story to see where the industry is potentially going.