Brainstorm arguments that framework laptop will be successful in the market

I come to know the framework laptop from the article - " Framework’s new laptop means the promise of modular gadgets might be coming true". In the article it says

The idea behind Framework’s announcement is really more exciting than the announcement itself. Framework’s plan for building longer-lasting laptops could only work if the company stayed committed to upgradeability and made sure to do right by the users who bought its devices on the promise of future upgrades. We’ve heard that promise before, of course, whether at the beginning of Alienware’s failed Area-51m dream, Google’s canceled Project Ara, or Intel’s semi-upgradable NUC Extreme and abandoned Compute Card initiatives. These things don’t tend to work out.

Can anyone know the previous trial of modular laptop product explain why framework laptop will be successful? What makes framework laptop different? What pitfall and potential risk will make this project fail? What strategy can increase the framework laptop’s likelihood to be successful?

Hope this discussion can help the framework’s leading members to gather all ideas and run a successful business.

This thread is also important for potential customers like me to buy the next laptop as framework laptop. We need to know that this company is promising and can be successfully in the market like the big players like Lenovo, HP, Dell etc.

Several things may be helpful:

  1. celebrity endorsement.
  2. Highly promote the product to the schools, government, and companies to reduce their cost and make them be loyal customers.
  3. Make the laptop to be purchasable from Bestbuy, Costco, Target etc.

It very much already has this from the people that matter most. Louis Rossman is a titan of the Right-to-Repair movement and while he wishes for more access to schematics and chip availability, upon a private conversation with Nirav (the CEO of Framework) he says that he understands the dificulties in releasing those documents and has given it his seal of approval.

Linus of LinusTechTips, with his multi-million subscriber base has not only pumped up this laptop, he personally invested $200k of his own dollars to make a public demonstration of his support. Other tech outlets that matter like iFixit have also fully supported this product. Of all the things that could cause Framework to fail, its not for lack of publicity.

Currently Framework lacks the scale to even dream of doing this, it would be great but not going to happen any time in the next 2-3 years, Framework simply lacks the money to order enough laptops to keep those retailers happy (we will get there one day!)

Also not possible at the moment. B2B sales and such rely on prompt repair services, as in Dell will send a repair tech to your business within a week (maybe less idk) to repair your device on site. Framework lacks the funding or support network to enable this.

There are fundamental differences between those projects and Framework. Area 51 aimed to be a desktop replacement, it carried a desktop CPU and a beefy (but non-upgradable GPU), requiring stupid amounts of engineering to cool and power. This also made it very heavy, ensuring that it was strictly desk-bound. That engineering also made it pricey, further narrowing it’s niche market.

NUC isn’t really abandoned although I will concede it doesn’t receive much love. Again it’s an entirely different concept. That markets to SFF desktop enthusiasts which isn’t a large market and again, cramming powerful parts in small chassis’ drives up the price.

Framework is mainstream, it targets those who would consider the Dell XPS 13 and 15. This market is much larger and also requires less engineering than trying to cram a dGPU into a small chassis. Other products didn’t offer the kind of upgrades that Framework is offering either. So long as mainboards can be designed to fit within the same thermal and physical envelopes that current boards have, indefinite upgrades are possible.

I agree Framework needs to penetrate the B2B market, that’s where the money is, selling to consumers just won’t cut it if growth is what is desired and Framework is making headway there.

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  1. Right timing. Right to repair movement. The law was approved in US before releasing Framework Laptop. This was positive move for Framework. In my mind, Fairphone was featured by World Economic Forum (I don’t want to discuss WEF itself here. It’s a sensitive topic. I just used the event to explain it’s a good timing for right to repair movement). It was a kind of the timing to overcome a chasm, and to be recognized by many people. It was February 20, 2021. And the first Framework Laptop’s introduction blog by Framework was February 25, 2021. Good timing after many people started to recognize right to repair.

  2. The Innovator’s Dilemma, Looks like you've got some competition? - #6 by junaruga . Big companies can not model Framework’s business model, because the model reduces their sales by existing products. Because the public trading companies need to grow sustainably.

  3. The company top’s sense. Such as providing hardware to communities in advance, creating this community forum by Discourse, telling the company’s story such as https://www.freethink.com/series/challengers/right-to-repair in an early timing. That a company itself 's info (not product info, not news release) is covered by media is a required criteria of that the company’s Wikipedia page can exist in Wikipedia. Honest behavior. The attention for public relation (PR) was what I had never seen in other Linux friendly laptop companies.

  4. The business model is beautiful. It implies the model is a kind of hardware version of Linux distro. We succeeded to open-source software by Linux and open source software (+ packages). Then next north star is to open-source hardware. I was excited for this structure.

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The Framework team actually cares about it’s product and customer in a way I haven’t seen from any other tech company.

This by itself isn’t enough, but satisfied customers advertise by word of mouth for free.

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Thank you for all your replies and thoughts.
I think most of the framework customers are laptop/hardware enthusiasts that desire to customize their laptop and the most attractive part of the framework is its upgradeability, especially the ability to only upgrade the mainboard in order to upgrade the CPU that turns a slow 7-year-old laptop into a breast again. I am one of the enthusiasts and really like the Framework laptop.

But it is very hard for the framework to reach customers like my wife or my neighbors who is not technical. The way they buy laptops is to go to Bestbuy and talk to one of the “blue shirts” for recommendations. If anything goes wrong, bring the laptop to the technical support. Apparently, Apple offers one of the best technical support for these non-technical people.

These non-technical people are a huge percentage of laptop customers. How to let these people appreciate the framework laptop and really benefit from the idea of the modular laptop is very important for the success of this company.

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In the past live QA, nrp said it’s important to reach out not only to the enthusiasts but also non-tech people on Framework Q&A - Our first ever live community Q&A with the Framework team - YouTube - 23:30.

You might hear the names such as innovators, early adapters, early majority, and etc… Technology adoption life cycle - Wikipedia .

I think now Framework Laptop is still only for innovators and early adapters. The current users belong to innovator or early adapters. Reaching to non-tech people (= early majority, late majority or laggards) are not now, but maybe after building a global delivery system, later in the future.

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I found this quote as well so it looks like retail channels are of no interest to Framework, likely due to the shelf space fees that retailers charge

I actually enjoy buying directly from the manufacturer, Framework in this case. Cut out the middleman.

Retail channel: Just some guy trying to get a cut to feed their family.

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In my opinion, for framework to be more successful they need to fill out their staff/job vacancies quickly if possible otherwise in future the small problems which are continuously seen in forum might get worse and people might start looking for different options.

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I have an idea. The framework should start to sell through retail channels like University Bookstore in US. In my university bookstore, there is an electronic session that demonstrates dell, apple products. Universities are the best place to promote “rights to repair”, and “protect environment, reduce electronic waste” ideas. Then the students can bring this spirit and ideas into companies in the future. There could be volunteers to fix small problems or upgrade for other students. The framework laptop company should have a plan to have university tour and presentation in universities to promot their product. At very least, let all computer science, engineering department students to buy Framework laptop with discount and win their heart.

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Let me tell you how Chinese companies like Lenovo do business in China. University freshmen are a very big consumer group. Lenovo promotes their product by setting up something like a smaller concert with many booths on Campus to attract students to come and know their product, draw lotteries, and buy a laptop with discounts. Then, most of my roommates got a Lenovo laptop for college. How smart Lenovo is. They take the initiative to bite the cake in the market.

This. make a solid product that anybody can use and enjoy.

Sadly the vast majority of people care about 2 things good value (price) and reliability quality of workmanship.

Us early adopters are willing to support the Framework team because of everything else the laptop presents, but the wider market? Mayb the end goal of FW in not mass adoption but niche adoption. I would think the more users the better for all.

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I’m from batch 2. For me, it’s not ‘everything else’, it’s in combination of. I still expect reliability, like any other products.

The more time passes, the less of a value I get from this purchase…because the 11th gen mainboard is getting closer to the end of its useful life by the day, and reliability just isn’t there. …and where’s the CVE fixes on the security front? Increasingly frustrated.

Hi, A_Fan, does your laptop have some serious issue (ignoring the manufacturing imperfection) that prevents it to be your daily driver? I am really curious about the percentage of “serious issues (that affect reliability as daily driver)” for all existing batches. Is it small percentage or relatively large percentage? Is the quality improving? Do not know how to get a poll from the existing users. I am considering buy the new 12th gen version, but the more I read the forum, the more I feel I might better wait. What is your suggestion?

There are two timebomb issues, one has occurred a few times, one is likely a matter of time before I’ll come across it myself:

  1. Already occurred: Not reliably able to wake up from sleep (Ubuntu 22.04 LTS) after a lid-close → suspend / sleep.
  2. Yet to experience personally: Laptop doesn’t power up even when laptop battery is charged.

Other funky issues:

  1. [HIgh] Battery drain when USB-A and / or HDMI cards are plugged in, but not externally connected to any peripherals.
  2. USB flash storage / thumb drive randomly dropping connection in the middle of file transfer. Seems to be a thumb drive compatibility related matter, or voltage related thing during data transfer. (That’s why I’m waiting for TB4 certification…that would indicate compliance)
  3. Gen 1 lid / cover is flimsy,bouncy. Higher likelihood of having cracked display panel than Gen 2 lid (supposedly).
  4. Hinges…OMG, the hinges. And there’s no public acknowledgement that it’s an issue. At the very least I believe framework should acknowledge that the hinges stiffness has a wide variance range (that’s why some people have issues with them, some don’t).
  5. Security updates for the BIOS. Also waiting to see if there’s going to be a “Begin charging battery threshold” setting.
  6. Not getting 60w boost for the tau duration.

There’s also this (which Framework didn’t even respond to confirm nor deny):

…and this:

There seems to be a lack of resources on BIOS/Firmware/EC updates (whether it’s time, people, or skill…or a combination of that).

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These two are really serious problems. If your laptop is under warranty, did framework promise for a return or replace of the product? How is it resolved? Thanks.

I kept my last two ($300-$500) laptops from 2009-2016 and 2017-2021, so I’m laughing at the notion of this 11th generation Intel processor being anywhere near “end of its useful life.”

And for specifications similar to my Framework, I still see Dell and Lenovo and Microsoft and Apple machines costing 30% to 100% more, so I don’t see how the value is declining.

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I’m hoping that this is the case, and mass adoption isn’t necessary for Framework’s survival. There’s no shame in operating as a boutique business serving a niche market of people who like to build and take apart their machines and run Linux.

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It’s not ‘near’ the end of its useful life…but it’s always on an ‘approaching’ trajectory (our motion of time is one way, getting closer by the day). Value is always declining… In the Framework Laptops case (to me)…it’s declining without even being my daily driver…making it relatively more expensive than it otherwise would have been for any given task.