Framework and Google have announced the new Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition. As the name suggests, this is an upgradable and customizable Chromebook from the same company that released the Framework laptop last year.
User-upgradable laptops are already fairly rare, but user-upgradable Chromebooks are almost unheard of. While the size of the audience for such a device remains to be seen, it’s certainly a step in the right direction for repairability in the laptop space as a whole.
Several parts of the Framework are user-customizable, though it’s unclear whether every adjustable part on the Windows Framework can also be adjusted on the Chromebook. Each part has a QR code which, if scanned, brings up the purchase page for the part replacement.
Most exciting (for me), the Chromebook edition includes the same expansion card system as the Windows edition, meaning you can choose which 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 favorite part of the Framework model. You can choose from USB-C, USB-A, microSD, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, high-speed 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 RAM and storage to be as high for most Chromebook users as Windows users, but the option will be there for those who want it.
The glasses are also interchangeable – they magnetically attach to the frame. All Framework frames are compatible with the Chromebook edition, which means that there are several different colors and you should be able to snap them on and off fairly easily.
These are the only evolving items listed in the press release Google sent me. I asked if the rest of the chassis (the processor, in particular, since it’s a big draw of the Windows laptop) will be upgradable. In response, Framework founder Nirav Patel said the Chromebook edition is “directly compatible with most components of the Framework Laptop ecosystem.”
All Frameworks are compatible with the Chromebook edition
Elsewhere, the Chromebook features a 2256 x 1504 3:2 display and weighs 2.87 pounds (1.3 kg). Inside is a 12th Gen Core i5-1240P (the CPU is upgradable in the Windows model, but there’s no mention of that here). There is a privacy switch to cut off power to the camera and microphones. But the main reason to buy this laptop, if previous Framework models are any indication, will be that you as the user can fix it.
Pre-orders begin today in the US and Canada with a starting price of $999. Products are expected to ship in early December.