Invector Labs revealed a new board, currently titled Challenger Model 2040, featuring the RP2040 system-on-a-chip that sets itself apart from many of its contemporaries by offering built-in Wi-Fi support and uses Adafruit's Feather layout.
The RP2040 is the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s first custom SoC. It debuted in the Raspberry Pi Pico in January, and in June, it was released as a standalone product that has since been included in a variety of boards designed by other companies.
"We just got our first RP2040 boards up and running," Invector Labs said on Instagram. It added that "this feather board is based on the the popular Raspberry Pico chip" but with the addition of LiPo charger support and a built-in USB-C port. We also spied an RGB LED, most likely a WS2812 NeoPixel and a PCB antenna for the onboard Wi-Fi, but no connector for an external antenna.
Right now the only official RP2040 board with built-in Wi-Fi is the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect, but Seeed are working on their own Wio RP2040 board, due for release soon. Invector Labs Challenger board is the first community / maker created RP2040 powered board that provides Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) via an ESP8285 networking SoC from Espressif Systems.
Espressif says the ESP8285 offers up to 72.2 Mbps transfers via the 802.11n protocol on the 2.4 GHz frequency band. Those specs are similar to those found on Arduino's offering, but the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect boasts support for Bluetooth 4.2 as well.
"We will be putting the little sucker through its paces during the next coming weeks before it becomes available," Invector Labs said, but it hasn't revealed any other information about the board's pricing or where it will be available for purchase.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.