What I think the targeted buyers need

I do a lot of electronic harware engineering especially for microcontrollers and
scientific automatisation electronics. I learned troughout the 80s and 90s to always have an easy accessible open tower PC with cables hanging out for quick PnP to service mostly other peoples parts :slight_smile:
What I and possibly a lot of people like me need is :

  • I/O extension cards for engineers(I2C,SPI,GPIB,GPS,older COM…,)

  • Rugged casing. A bigger casing possibility with space for lots of battery( for people going to the middle of nowhere),self made expansions, cooling, or whathever future situation that needs some space… An open community laptop needs some open space. Also for testing and repairing third-person parts. Or maybe a double motherboard.
    Personally I don’t mind having a 5 cm thick laptop. It must be durable and functional.
    (You should see my 10 y old CAT cell-phone :slight_smile:

  • Big Battery or docking system with battery and programmable DC output maybe

  • This kind of laptop would be what Arduino users would buy if it would have some interaction software from Framework. I have a feeling that people would benefit if the Arduino community and Modular laptops could be “closer toghether” both being open and aiming at educating and environement.
    Wouldn’t it be fun and satisfying to plug in a self-made Arduino board in your own laptop.

  • In my perfect world development boards and all hardware needed to run are built-in in a sturdy black Samsonite case making the easy to take wherever you want to develop.
    It is always hard to mount a laptop in a case so a couple of back threaded inserts would be nice.

Get kids interested in the laptop. Make it run a Christmass tree led program or a robot. Aim more to the educational and make people realize that open products keeps the economy honest.

If you want a painting you get an Apple , if you want to be the painter get a FRAMEWORK
hahaha so proud…

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In my opinion I think Framework being in the business of developing super-specialized modules and components is a distraction from their product strategy - that’s what the open specification of their modules is for. If Framework spends all their time developing super specific modules and add-on hardware that only a handful of people will use, they won’t be focused on the fundamentals of ensuring good product quality and keeping up with providing the latest CPUs/technology. I think the community/open specs is what helps to backfill these niche needs

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Sounds to me like the MNT Reform is more up your alley.

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Au contraire…
Honestly I think the people who would buy a modular PC like Framework are interested in durability. The kind of people that ran WinXP and WinCE until the last feasable moment(some still are). We 're not Al Yankovich in need of the latest pentium :slight_smile:
A new processor takes me about 10 years to get tired of. Never ever did I discard a laptop for processor wear.(Did need to reflow twice as result of PCB warping)
I guess if you would poll your average costumer it will reek IT/electrotechnicean all over.
Also if Framework wishes to compete for performance with a small business they will become Apple or Dell.(They will go to the dark side I see…)
A bit like Greta going to a climate conference by plane I think.
They need the rebel consumer that is sick of throwing devices away for one lousy fauly component that nobody can identify. If the consumer is not IT/technician/engineer they will bother one with it for sure.
And here we are…

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To Feesh :

Bingo, this is what I need. Now I’m in dubio… Framework or MNT…
Well it shows who’s drawing costumers away…
Why do we need to choose , can’t there be a hybrid like MNT Framework.

I disagree that MNT is drawing customers away. MNT and Framework are targeting different audiences–the former being much more hardcore/niche in terms of hackability and usability. The Framework Laptop is supposed to be an everyday ultraportable notebook a la Macbook/XPS but with reparability and upgradability.

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My bigger point is that regardless of the target market, Framework is in the business of selling computers, not specialized microcontrollers and obscure I/O. Their platform is open source and the community should be developing that stuff, not Framework. Framework will not survive without a good and well maintained high quality core product. Trying to be too many things to too many people will distract them from that goal. They need to make sure they iron out quality issues, deliver good products and keep them competitive with other laptops. The community can design and sell their own serial port modules or custom casings if they want.

I also don’t know that every target buyer is an electronics tinkerer. I think there’s a huge market for technically-inclined power users that want the ability to swap components and repair stuff without being dependent on the manufacturer warranty, but mostly want regular laptops with modern features that they can use like everyone else and get on with their day. For example your average programmer. I see a lot more people on here cross shopping MacBooks and X1 Carbons and Dell XPS than something very niche like MNT Reform.

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This and the Panasonic Toughbook sound like what OP is looking for. Framework is more meant to compete with the thin and light notebooks like the Dell XPS, Microsoft Surface Laptop, and Macbook Air.

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While I do program micro controllers and build drones and work on small AI devices and what not…

I bought a Framework to replace both my desktop gaming machine from 2015 and my mac book pro from 2015 and selected it because I value the fact that I can easily repair it without having to go down and re-solder a bunch of components when something breaks. While I enjoy doing that, sometimes having the time back instead is more important.

I wanted something that wouldn’t slow too bad when I had to compile code, but also was portable. I keep it docked most of the time and when I need to run I just grab it and go.

For me, I wouldn’t want something more rugged. I mean sure, the hinges could be a bit stiffer but overall I’m glad its as thin and light as it is.

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You may be interested in checking out the MCU expansion card we prototyped that is arduino compatible:

We prototyped this but have not offered it for sale, I have found it pretty useful and can be used as a spi/i2c/uart breakout or bridge.

Right now it is hard to find the MCU due to silicon shortages however.

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Kieran,

I did not see this page which is awesome and shows exactly what I like to see to get people closer to self-made functionality of a computer.
I like this a lot.
Also I was thinking : “LEGO-like” computer → mindstorm, KNX expansion card…

Thanks

The motherboard is good to fit also in industrial machines out of the normal case. Industrial control PC’s are way overpriced. Serial protocols are very important in the industry so RS485 and some BAC,MODBUS,PROFIBUS,CAN,… software would also be nice. (lots of free open drivers) I wouldn’t mind paying a reasonable price for the work people did for selecting and collecting a bundle of freeware. (may be a way of funding)
This brings me to some kind of HMI software for people to easily control some stuff. I work a lot with Weintek HMI(Weinview on Aliexpress).
They have excellent and free software for their devices and on top you can simulate while being on-line to your PC’s com ports.
Something like this would be nice with a home automation bus expansion card. But then again I could just use their program(Easybuilder PRO)

you can in theory 3D print your own casing since Framework says they will be providing the mechanical specifications. However I do not think they had published it on their website yet.
I also do not know whether they will provide CAD drawings for things like the hinge or the display/screen, or things like battery but I think you can take those measurements yourself too.

You can buy a big USB PD power bank.

They are working on a microcontroller-in-a-expansion (think arduino leonardo card) with I2C and some other headers exposed.

HOWEVER, like I said earlier, everyone use a different design suite. I use Xilinx Platform Studio. He might use Atmel and they might be using … I don’t know. Intel Arm Development Studio. And every one of them have different proprietary programmer or simply have onboard USB.

Some of the more higher-end ones (think computerized oscilloscope) are made as PCIe AICs.

I also own the ADALM1K and it’s basically impossible for it to be condensed into a framework card.

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Big USB c battery pack in a 3d printed module on the bottom will fix you right up.

The rest don’t they make USB to whatever modules at this point. Even better if they have optoisolation to protect your laptop.

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Okay, I have more dreams and plans that I can handle for at least 10 years so Im happy that a lot of people have the same agenda. Al these plans would be worthless without open sourcing... When can we order in Belgium? I think I can get some people interested too at the University. If Im able to make a HMI with it I can standardize for general use as I did with our homebrew modified-MODBUS PLC. For the moment in science-land there are some APPLE like companies for logging and control that need to know people have other options than pay outrageous prices.
(by the way when Im using the apostrophe twice doesnt show and it makes the font change luckily I have a second ’ key and it makes me wonder if I’m using the wrong one all my life :slight_smile: )

Yeah, ` is different from ’ :wink:

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Interesting; you seem to be using U+0060 (GRAVE ACCENT a.k.a. the ASCII “backtick” which has also historically been abused as a left single quote). That is indeed not an appropriate apostrophe (or right single quote) :slightly_smiling_face:. I’m guessing you should be using U+0027 (APOSTROPHE). Your ’ might be that, but it’s hard to be 100% sure because the forum does “smart quotes”, meaning it automatically converts ASCII single- and double-quotes to their left/right equivalents. This → ’ ← is rendered as U+2019 (RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK), which is also an acceptable apostrophe, even though what I typed is ' (using “code” markup, i.e. backticks, to suppress “smart quotes”).

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