Fans of the modular Framework Laptop who also prefer ChromeOS to Windows or Linux are in for a treat: Framework and Google are announcing a Chromebook Edition of the Laptop today. It has the same basic hardware design and works with most of the same parts as the regular Framework Laptop but with tweaks to make it a full-fledged Chromebook.
While you could always take a standard Framework Laptop and install ChromeOS Flex on it, the standard version of ChromeOS still has a few features that Flex doesn’t, including Android app support via Google Play, automated firmware updates, and a few other security and device management features.
Framework says that the Chromebook Edition laptop will be available for preorder starting today—a version with a Core i5-1240P CPU will cost $999, although you’ll only need to put down $100 to reserve your preorder. Orders begin shipping in December. Framework is also putting parts specific to the Chromebook Edition laptop into its Framework Marketplace parts store.
The Chrome version of the Framework Laptop will have the Chromebook logo printed on its lid and a slightly different keyboard layout. It will include different firmware so that it fully supports all of ChromeOS’ security features. But it’s otherwise the exact same hardware as the standard Framework Laptop. That means that users can choose their own ports, upgrade their own RAM and storage, and easily replace most components of the laptop when they break or wear out.
When we reviewed the standard version of the latest Framework Laptop earlier this year, we still liked its modular design, its keyboard and trackpad, and its performance, but we came away less than impressed with its battery life. A switch to ChromeOS on the same hardware isn’t likely to change that assessment much. But for people who want or need a high-end Chromebook following Google’s cancellation of its own high-end Pixelbook series, the Framework Laptop is a unique contender with features you can’t find elsewhere.