Framework Computer

Framework Computer, Inc. is an American laptop manufacturer. The company positions itself as a proponent of the electronics right to repair movement, and their laptops are designed to be easy to disassemble, with replaceable parts. In November 2021, Time magazine listed the Framework Laptop on their list of the 100 Best Inventions of 2021. In March 2022, Fast Company listed the Framework Laptop on their list of the Most Innovative Companies of 2022. In October 2023, Time magazine listed the Framework Laptop 16 on their list of the 200 Best Inventions of 2023.

In January 2020, the company was founded by Nirav Patel, who was the original Head of Hardware at Oculus. In the first half of 2021, the company was funded with a $9 million seed round. YouTuber Linus Sebastian invested $225,000 in the company in September after having previously commended the 11th Gen Intel Framework Laptop 13. In January 2022, the company raised an additional $18 million of financing in a series A round, led by Spark Capital.

In July 2021, Framework began fulfillment of their first product, the Framework Laptop (retroactively the Framework Laptop 13), with an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 chip to the US and Canada. In December 2021, Framework opened pre-orders to the UK, Germany and France. In February 2022, pre-ordering became available for Ireland, Austria and The Netherlands. The Framework Laptop received a 10 out of 10 in iFixit's repairability score. The standard Framework Laptop ships as a fully assembled laptop, while the Framework Laptop DIY Edition ships with the RAM, storage, operating system, and in 11th Gen, the WiFi module uninstalled. All of these modules can be ordered with the DIY edition for an additional fee, or left out and purchased separately.

In May 2022, the company launched their second generation Framework Laptop with a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 chip that ships with an upgraded back panel, alongside their 12 Gen Upgrade Kit, to allow 11th Gen users to upgrade their laptops. In September 2022, pre-ordering became available for Australia.

In September 2022, the company launched a Chromebook edition based on their 12th Gen Intel model for $999. Unlike the standard laptop, the Chromebook's specifications is fixed to an i5-1240P, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD - but it retains the same upgradability as the standard laptop. Framework claims that the Chromebook edition has upgraded speakers and batteries compared to the standard laptop - but the speakers were described as "muffled" by ZDnet and the battery life was rated as quite poor for a Chromebook by ZDnet, Engadget and PCMag. Engadget and PCMag criticise the price relative to other Chromebooks, but the former states that given the hardware it seems fair.

In March 2023, a third-generation laptop was announced, featuring 13th Gen Intel Core and Ryzen 7040 processors. The designation of Framework Laptop 13 was adopted to distinguish it from the concurrently announced Framework Laptop 16.

In April 2022, the company partly open sourced their motherboard with CAD and electrical documentation, being available in their marketplace, giving away 100 motherboards to makers and developers.

There is an issue with the first generation motherboards with 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs, that requires complete removal and reconnection of both the main battery and the RTC coin cell battery, if the laptop is not charged for a relatively short period of time. The company said that this issue is caused by the 11th Gen Intel Core silicon bug, and that they would work to swap out a replacement RTC coin cell battery or 11th Gen motherboard for the people facing the issue.

Framework Laptop uses proprietary UEFI firmware, InsydeH2O by Insyde Software, and an open sourced embedded controller (EC) firmware based on CrOS EC by Framework. In April 2021, the company mentioned that open source firmware was well aligned to their mission. In January 2022, the company open sourced their EC firmware. The company modifies the UEFI source code they bought from Insyde Software to meet their specific firmware needs. The company's Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) with fwupd is in testing state. Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition uses an open source firmware, coreboot.

The initial 55Wh battery has been described as middling. This feedback was addressed with the release of a 61Wh battery, available as an option in the 2023 edition of the laptop. An Ars Technica review found that the battery life of the 13th Gen Intel motherboard was significantly improved over prior designs, gaining a 40% uplift in PCMark's battery test but remaining mostly the same when running Handbrake - this is despite the reviewer testing battery life with the 55Wh battery from their previous machine, with an upgrade to the 61Wh battery the runtime improved by another 13%.

The battery drains even in a complete shut down state within UEFI version 3.07 or earlier with the 11th Intel Core motherboard, later fixed in UEFI unofficial version 3.08.

As most components in Framework products are designed to be reconfigurable, this table lists stock specifications available at the time of purchase.

i7-1165G7

i7-1185G7

i7-1260P

i7-1280P

i7-1360P

i7-1370P

7840U

3.5mm TRRS audio connector

115×76.6mm touchpad with 4mm cell size

Fingerprint reader on power button

Dual MEMS microphones

For privacy: camera power LED and hardware power switches

DIY edition: Intel AX210

DIY edition: user-provided Windows or Linux

Framework Laptop 16 is a larger laptop unveiled at the promotional Next Level keynote in March 2023. It is dubbed the “holy grail” of upgradeable laptops for engineers and gamers due to the new expansion bay that can attach PCIe components such as a dedicated GPU, as well as adapt the laptop's cooling system.

As most components in Framework products are designed to be reconfigurable, this table lists stock specifications available at the time of purchase.

AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS

Internal MUX Switch (for configurations with a graphics card in the Expansion Bay)

Fingerprint reader on power button

Dual MEMS microphones

For privacy: camera power LED and hardware power switches

DIY edition: user-provided Windows or Linux

A core feature of the Framework Laptop is the Expansion Card system that provides the primary input/output for the laptop. In its base form, the laptop is equipped with recessed slots containing USB-C ports that can be used directly. These slots can be attached with an assortment of interchangeable cards that add features such as USB-C (passthrough), USB-A, DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, MicroSD, 2.5GbE Ethernet and 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as form-fitting solid state storage (up to 1 TB per slot). The Framework Laptop 13 can accommodate four expansion cards, the larger Framework Laptop 16 accommodates six. The company launched the Expansion Card Developer Program to open card development to the public: releasing documentation, CAD templates, and reference designs for Expansion Cards—all under open source licenses.

The capabilities of the USB-C Expansion Card are contingent on the mainboard, as it "passes through the supported protocols on the processor directly." On Intel platforms, the expansion card enables Thunderbolt 4/USB 4, 20V/5A charging, and DisplayPort Alt Mode. On Ryzen, the capabilities vary depending on the slot the USB-C Expansion Card occupies.

The Framework Marketplace is an online store service hosted on the Framework website that primarily sells parts and tools that can be used to upgrade and repair the Framework Laptop. These include but are not limited to, replacement motherboards, batteries, entire screen assemblies, RAM and storage drives. The Marketplace also sells customization parts, including screen bezels, keyboard layouts, and expansion cards. In addition to computer-related items, the Marketplace also includes merchandise.

Third party companies and individuals make projects in a Framework ecosystem.

The company supports by their knowledge base articles, community forum, QR codes on the products and parts, and inquiry form. The company's customer support is controversial. It has both positive reviews that they are transparent, honest, and customer-focused and negative reviews that they close the door.

Framework Laptop is available for order in the US, Canada, The UK, Germany, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Austria, Australia, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Taiwan. In December 2021, the company announced that they chose the additional supported countries UK, Germany and France based on both the number of people who registered interest through the region selection page and on logistical complexity. In February 2022, pre-ordering became available for Ireland, Austria and The Netherlands. Pre-orders also opened in Australia in September 2022, with shipments arriving from October.

For people asking to buy Framework Laptop in their region, the company recommended that they wait until the company officially launches in their region before ordering. The company mentioned that if an import service was used, they would not be able to support the laptop or warranty.

In December 2021, the company released a statement asking users who are not using Ubuntu 21.04.3+ or Fedora 35 to troubleshoot with Framework's Linux community instead of contacting Framework support as no other Linux distribution has been verified by the company for hardware compatibility, mentioning that the company could troubleshoot general product usage issues on a supported OS, but could not troubleshoot OS related issues not related to the product functionality. In April 2022, the company announced their Linux compatibility page.

In June 2022, the FreeBSD Foundation announced their work to ensure that the experience running FreeBSD on the Framework Laptop matches the stability that FreeBSD users expect.

In June 2021, a venture capitalist investing in the company said "The conventional wisdom in the industry is that making products repairable makes them thicker, heavier, uglier, less robust, and more expensive. We're here to prove that wrong and fix consumer electronics, one category at a time.". In October 2021, the company said "The core problem is the idea that consumer electronics are disposable.", and "Right to repair is incredibly important. It is actually a core part of what we are doing. Because increasingly products are not designed to be repaired." in interviews.

Framework Laptop was on display as part of the Waste Age: What can Design Do? exhibition displayed at the Design Museum in London from October 2021 to February 2022.

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