Framework and Google have announced a new Framework laptop Chromebook Edition. As the name suggests, this is an upgradeable, customizable Chromebook from the same company that released the Framework laptop last year.
User-upgradable laptops are already rare, but user-upgradable Chromebooks are even rarer. While the size of the audience for such a device remains to be seen, it’s definitely a step in the right direction for an overhaul in the entire laptop space.
Multiple parts of the framework are user customizable, although it’s not clear whether every component that can be adjusted in the Windows framework can also be adjusted on a Chromebook. Each part has a QR code that, if scanned, brings up a purchase page for part replacement.
Most excitingly (to me), the Chromebook edition has the same expansion card system as the Windows edition, meaning you can choose the ports you want and where to put 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 the framework model. You can choose between USB-C, USB-A, microSD, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, high-speed storage, “and more,” according to the press release. HDMI, in particular, is a convenient option to have on a Chromebook.
You can also upgrade memory and storage — I don’t expect most Chromebook users to need a bump in RAM and storage as much as Windows users, but the option is there for those who want it.
The bezels are also interchangeable – they attach magnetically to the frame. All the framework bezels are compatible with the Chromebook Edition, which means there are a few different colors available and you can switch them on and off very easily.
According to Framework Marketplace the following also appear to be replaceable: hinges, audio board, bottom cover, touchpad cable. The following are currently listed as “coming soon” on the Framework Marketplace, but it looks like they may need to be replaced at some point: keyboard, battery, power button, top cover. Framework’s FAQ says the company “has not announced any plans for a new ChromeOS compatible mainboard at this time,” but the mainboard is listed as “coming soon” on the market, so who knows?
All framework bezels are compatible with Chromebook Edition
Elsewhere, the Chromebook has a 2256 x 1504 3:2 display and weighs 2.87 pounds (1.3kg). Inside is a 12th gen Core i5-1240P (the Windows model will have a processor upgrade, but that’s not mentioned here). There is a privacy switch to cut power from the camera and microphones. The framework also claims that Chromebook speakers are louder than Windows frameworks, as well as a “more power optimized battery”. But the main reason to buy this laptop, if previous Framework models are any indication, is that you as a user can repair it.
It’s not just hardware. the draft said in the tweet Google supports the Chromebook edition of the framework for “at least 8 years”. Preorders begin today in the US and Canada with a starting price of $999. Products will ship in early December.
Update September 21, 5:00PM ET: Updated to add new details from the framework website.