I’ve looked at the features, and I’m confused what the big deal is here.
I’m thinking in comparison the esp32 and/or the esp12 (depending on if raw wifi is needed).
Can someone more familiar with embedded better explain what’s going on here, say vs a castellated esp chip?
I don’t know if you can get an ESP32 for $1. Extrapolating from the unit cost of the Pi Pico vs. a SparkFun ESP32 board, it seems like the RP2040 would be a lot cheaper. Of course it doesn’t have WiFi or BT, but not everyone needs that, and cost is a big deal.
ARM is a well-known and fairly open architecture compared to ESP32, for which you can’t even get a goddam instruction set reference — I and others have asked on the ESP32 forums, and Espressif says they are legally forbidden to give out those documents, since they don’t own the architecture. You have to sign your own NDA with Xtensa. Apparently Espressif is dumping Xtensa for RISC-V.
Also, I hear the RP2040 programmable I/O controller can do fairly complex encoding/decoding insanely fast. There was a thread about it here recently.
Yeah, ESP32 is a fair bit cheaper and has been around longer; both have dual cores and similar amounts of memory. But the toolchain quality for ARM has had waaay more time to mature. Not having to throw away your existing toolchain is a big plus for some folks.
Digikey is quoting $3 and up for ESP32 modules, which is a lot more than $1.
My bad; I was thinking of ESP8266 which is like seventy cents.
Damn, you have some good points that I wasn’t aware of. I think this is the biggest issue, given that the RP2040 has good docu:
“Espressif says they are legally forbidden to give out [instruction set reference]”
I guess throwing a castellated esp12 is good for adding quick wifi to a project, but I can definitely see that anything further than that has some pretty bad side effects (cannot model the chip in any real capacity, cannot completely reprogram the chip).