Arduino Announces Raspberry Pi RP2040 Core Port, Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect Board

The Raspberry Pi Pico has only just launched but Arduino, Pimoroni, SparkFun, and Adafruit are already planning RP2040 boards of their own.

The Raspberry Pi Pico, the first ever microcontroller launched from the creators of the popular Raspberry Pi family of single-board computers, has only just launched — but news has broken that it's getting an Arduino port, while the Arduino team is also working on its own development board built around the same RP2040 microcontroller.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is an important device for one simple reason: It houses the first-ever in-house Raspberry Pi silicon, a smart yet low-cost microcontroller built around two Arm Cortex-M0+ cores. While the Pico is the first RP2040 board on the market, it's not going to be the last — and the Arduino team is welcoming the launch with a couple of major announcements.

The first is that the Raspberry Pi Pico, and by extension other boards built around the RP2040, are to get an official port of the Arduino core. "We are going to port the Arduino core to this new architecture in order to enable everyone to use the RP2040 chip with the Arduino ecosystem," a joint statement from Massimo Banzi and Fabio Violante explains. "IDE, command line tool, and thousands of libraries."

The second is that work has begun on an official Arduino board based on the same RP2040 processor. "We started from the Nano format with its own tiny footprint," the pair explain, "leveraging on some of the existing key features of other Nanos like the versatile u-blox NINA Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module. The goal being to enable people to develop connected products leveraging our hardware powered by Raspberry silicon, a solid radio module with exceptional performance, and the Arduino Create IoT Cloud."

"The new board will come packed with some high-quality MEMS sensors from STM (namely a 9-axis IMU and a microphone), a very efficient power section, and a bunch of other innovations that you can already spot from the design. Whereas the majority of microcontrollers use embedded flash, the new RP2040 chip uses external flash. To provide plenty of space for all your code and storage we’ve included 16MB flash memory — this is also particularly useful to allow OTA (over-the-air) updates."

Dubbed the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect, Arduino's new board isn't the only one to embrace Raspberry Pi's RP2040: Sheffield-based Pimoroni has announced it has already finalised the design of a tiny minimal implementation with USB Type-C, dubbed the Pimoroni Tiny 2040, along with an RP2040 version of its Keybow macro pad and a handheld games console called the PicoSystem. Adafruit, too, has confirmed it is to launch an RP2040 Feather board in the near future. SparkFun, meanwhile, has not only confirmed RP2040 Pro Micro and Thing Plus boards, but also an RP2040 processor board compatible with its MicroMod ecosystem.

More information on the RP2040 and the Raspberry Pi Pico is available in our hands-on review.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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