Not only did we get a new Raspberry Pi with their new Pico, we got a whole new chip! Now, rather than just bonnets and hats, we get new boards from outside vendors using the RP2040 chip, and it’s quickly making its way to all of the competing form factors. That’s how we arrive at the ItsyBitsy RP2040. Roughly two thirds the size of the Pi Pico, it’s a nice addition to Adafruit’s ItsyBitsy configuration.
The RP2040 chip is obvious, but if we wanted tiny, we would have gone with the QT PY, so what is different here? First off a full 8MB of flash memory, giving you roughly four times the storage, for all your deep project needs. It sports the usual two ISC/SPI and UART interfaces but it adds an additional ADC for a total of four. Another nice change are the 10 general digital GPIO pins, consecutively put for easier PIO usage. They’ve also shoehorned in a NeoPixel that’s also tied into GPIO, so that you can keep it off for all your low power and long running projects. Another nice touch is the buttons for both reset and bootloader, allowing you to access all of the modes you require without having to unplug.
The board itself runs at 3.3V, but also has a special VHigh pin, allowing you the 5V you may need from either the USB or battery. It uses a Micro USB connector, so your preferences may very. Also, compared to the Pi Pico, you will be giving up 3 GPIO pins overall, as well as those castellated pins, so reflow is now out.
At the end of the day you are getting M4 speeds with roughly two M0 cores, and a cornucopia of I/O options. With the addition of the PIO options, some of the usual peripheral options are now handled this way and the examples will easily walk you through how.
You also have your choice of programming environments, with C, MicroPython, and of course the ever-present CircuitPython. (Sorry Arduino fans, you currently have to look elsewhere.)