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9 March 2021
Probably the first laptop to be shipped with a screwdriver, the Framework Laptop is a 13.5-inch customizable computer that was designed to be fixed and upgraded by users.
The laptop is the first product announced by Framework, a San Francisco-based startup determined to crack down on electronic waste by helping people repair and upgrade the devices they own. To that end, the laptop is made of easily replaceable, modular parts.
The mainboard, battery, screen, keyboard and other elements can be replaced if they break down or need an upgrade. Each part is marked with a QR code that takes users directly to an online guide and a listing on the company's store to locate relevant items. Framework won't just be releasing its own upgrades to parts, but is also creating a marketplace where partners will be able to sell compatible units they've developed. Laptops will start shipping this summer.
Our collective drive to upgrade phones, laptops and tablets has created a massive problem: people discarded 53 million metric tons of electronic waste in 2019. One solution is for existing manufacturers to improve the repairability of their products. Government regulation might nudge things in the right direction; in December 2020, the European Parliament passed a resolution that supports consumers' Right to Repair. Another solution is for startups to pave the way, like Framework's laptop and Fairphone's smartphone. Both roads should lead to the same destination: normalizing a longer lifespan for every electronic product.