$4 Udoo Key Merges Raspberry Pi RP2040 and ESP32 Together (Updated)

The Udoo Key
(Image credit: Udoo)

Update 10/25/2021 08:43 PT:

This kickstarter is live and with 23 days to go it has smashed its $10,000 target. At the time of writing the campaign is now at $103398.46 with some $4 pledges still available.

Original Article:

Mini PC manufacturer Udoo is promoting the launch of a Kickstarter campaign, Udoo Key, a microcontroller board featuring both an RP2040 - the Raspberry Pi Pico - and an ESP32 all in one odd shaped package.

The Udoo Key is a curiously proportioned T-shaped board, sees the ESP32, powered by a dual-core Xtensa 32-bit LX6, 16MB flash memory and 8MB PSRAM, placed at the top of the board, and a custom RP2040 powered board at the base. The RP2040 is the same dual ARM Cortex-M0 chip as used on the Raspberry Pi Pico and many other RP2040 powered board, but Udoo Key has 8MB of QSPI flash, four times the amount of the Raspberry Pi Pico.

Targeting a price of $20 (or $4 if you sign up for the early-bird discount) the cost is greater than buying individual ESP32 and Raspberry Pi Picos, but you’re paying for convenience here. Both halves of the board are fully programmable, and 100% compatible with Pico accessories (which suggests that the Pico side of the board shares the same pinout as the Pico) and Olimex UEXT modules for the ESP32. It supports all the usual programming environments, such as MicroPython, TensorFlow Lite and C/C++, while also natively supporting the Clea AI over IoT platform.
According to the product page, the ESP32 and RP2040 can be used independently or together. The true power of this board lies in the pair being used together. How they will communicate, we do not know. It could be in a similar manner to Pimoroni's Pico Wireless, which uses SPI to communicate with ESP32 providing Wi-Fi to the Pico.

We don’t know yet when the crowdfunding drive will start, but you can sign up to be notified on the Udoo site. Remember that crowdfunding a project is not a guarantee of receiving a finished product. Backing a crowdfunded project is akin to an investment, you believe in the project and want it to succeed. You are not purchasing a retail product.

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • mariusmotea
    What is the purpose? ESP32 is powerful enough.
  • ldrn
    Offhand, the 2040 could handle USB HID or USB Host duties while the ESP32 handles BLE HID or serial and Wifi, or you could let the 2040 handle HDMI output and leave everything else to the ESP32.

    It has some interesting uses.