I love what you guys are doing, but this one is not for me. Personally I dislike the MacBook aesthetic. I might get the current model if a trackpoint keyboard is available in the future (touchpads give me cramps), but for now I’m sticking with my old T530.
It would be great if Framework made a business-grade laptop similar to the older ThinkPads. No thin and light fluff, just durability and utility. For me weight is not an issue and durability is much more important (especially the screen, which unfortunately Lenovo switched to flimsy ones without screen latches). Also I prefer topside hinges and removable battery in the back (allows for extended 9-cell battery to be swapped in, doubles as a carrying handle too)
Personally I’d like the chassis to be rather thick, the more structural support the better, and could allow for components like the CPU to be soldered on a daughtercard for easy upgrade options.
I think this would be a great idea to consider, since users who want thicker laptops like old Thinkpads have zero options on the market right now, pretty much everything is a macbook clone, with the new Thinkpads getting more MacBook-y every year.
I’m glad users now have the Framework for a great Macbook alternative now and it would be great if ThinkPad users got something similar. Thank you.
You might want to take a look at the panasonic toughbook lineup, those are about as modular and utilitarian as it’s possible to get right now.
I would make a distinction though between your definition of “business-grade” and what, well, businesses actually have been using. Business-grade doesn’t mean ancient designs - to the contrary most companies I’ve seen have been deploying either thinkpads (because of their reputation), macbooks (in a huge proportion for software devs), Dell Latitudes (which have soldered LPDDR4x memory now…), and the HP ZBook or Elitebook series laptops. Laptops of old like thinkpads needed to be so chunky for a variety of reasons, primarily due to the fact their chassis was plastic, and that introduces a whole host of strength, stiffness, and thermal challenges. However, thickness on its own should not be conflated with durability, performance, or repairability. I had a super thick laptop from 2013 that needed an RMA every month until I sold the piece of crap.
I was thinking “business-grade” on more the lines of marketing rather than looking at the current (hostile and anti-repair) market and blindly copying off of it. Framework is very counter-cultural in it’s Right-To-Repair philosophy, so why not be counter-cultural in terms of design of the hardware?
Also, looking at past laptops that have received critical acclaim from their community, like the older ThinkPad T and X series. Modern Thinkpads have rather mediocre build quality in part due to trying to make it something it’s not.
Heck, people are building custom motherboards to stuff into older ThinkPads. So you definitely have a market for such a product.
I agree that thickness alone does not make a quality chassis, but when engineered correctly with materials such as magnesium and carbon-fiber re-enforced plastic it most certainly does.
I’m not really thinking of something as extreme as a ToughBook, or something really thick like an old ThinkPad from the late 90s, just a Right-to-repair laptop with ThinkPad build quality and features.
Having products at both ends of the spectrum (OG Framework styling for those who want Apple, chunky utility Framework laptop for those who want ThinkPad) will fulfill most users desires.
When everyone is “thin and light”, no one is.
i’m not sure any of this qualifies as “business-grade”, it seems more like a personal preference. i’ve been working on macbook pros during my entire career. i don’t mind thinkpads but personally i prefer the mbp style, which is why i am looking forward to a framework laptop shipping in europe as opposed to a more repair-friendly thinkpad.
I can see it from the perspective of individual preference - I would say though, that given the aim of Framework is to have shared motherboard footprints, and interchangeable components, a thinkpad-like chassis would only provide meager benefits of stiffness. I’d be curious to hear your perspective on this question - if you’re fitting the same internal components into a new chassis whose singular purpose and advantage is to increase thickness, would that still be a more appealing product to you? For example, what if I (or another developer) designed a thicker 3-D printable chassis for the internals, assuming fit and finish were tightly controlled, would that be a more appealing product to you?
What userbase do you have? I’m over IT for a large company and my users are constantly complaining about size and weight. They would all take the XPS 13 if it wasn’t cost prohibitive. I have over 1K + users and they all want ultra-books. The few process engineers I have complain because I forced them into rugged books.
I agree with @marco , this is definitely a personal preference and not a consensus. I laugh at every one of the posts with someone asking for that POS trackpoint in the Thinkpad line. My users hated it when we were on Lenovo. They (my users) prefer to have a larger touchpad vs the touchpoint. Again… just my users, they may not be the norm.
Since the palmrest area is removable, it should be possible to offer various options
A beefier chassis for the existing Framework would be awesome. Although it wouldn’t be ideal, as the footprint of the motherboard is specifically designed for the laptop’s style, so things like a rear swappable battery, an ultrabay, or 2u expansion cards wouldn’t work without making the computer’s base extremely thick.
If you can pull it off, I’d still love to see this though!
For the TrackPoint doubters, yes, it feels bizzare to use for the first week or so, but research has shown it’s faster and much more ergo than a touchpad or even a mouse.
Interesting research video by IBM: IBM introduces "Pointing Stick" (TrackPoint) (1990) - YouTube
I choose IT for my smallish company. We have about 20 laptops - mostly of the light-and-thin type ( a few mobile workstations too).
I love my Framework and would change over new purchases (after I’ve thrown mine around for a few weeks) if it had a touchscreen option.
I’d make that the first new option
Touch pads in general are completely unusable to me. I can hover my hands an inch above those things and the pointer moves around like I’m touching it. I always disable them in the BIOS so there’s no chance they get activated. My only options are a mouse or a trackpoint. I like the trackpoint. This would be the ideal computer if I didn’t have to accept that I would be unable to use it when I don’t have room for a mouse.