Mini keyboards launched with ESP32-C3 or Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU

Last week, when I saw LilyGO T-Keyboard based on ESP32-C3, I didn’t think much of it and did not expect many people to be interested, so I skipped it. But earlier today I also noticed Solder Party launched a very similar-looking product – the BB Q20 Keyboard with Trackpad – based on Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU. So after all, it might be worthwhile to look into those mini keyboards for makers.

LilyGO T-keyboard

LilyGO T-KeyboardHardware specifications:

  • SoC – ESP32-C3 single-core RISC-V processor with Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 5.0 LE connectivity
  • Display – 0.99-inch TFT color LCD
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Battery – 400mAh built-it battery
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB port
  • Dimensions – 6.9 x 5.3 x 1.7 cm

ESP32-C3 mini wireless keyboard

The company promotes it as a mini Bluetooth keyboard for iOS and Android smartphones, as well as Windows machines, but also has plans to make it work with their T-Echo LoRa messaging hardware. LilyGO provides an Arduino sketch to make it work as a Bluetooth LE keyboard.

The T-Keyboard can be purchased on Aliexpress for $25.98 including shipping.

Solder Party BB Q20 Keyboard with Trackpad

Solder Party BB Q20

Specifications:

  • MCU – Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ MCU with 264 KB of embedded SRAM
  • Storage – 16 MBit SPI flash (Gigadevices GD25Q16C)
  • USB – 1x USB Type-C port for power, programming, and USB HID support
  • User input – QWERTY keyboard, optical trackpad that works as a USB HID mouse
  • Audio – Built-in microphone (enable/disable with jumper)
  • Expansion
    • PMOD connector (I2C)
    • Qwicc/Stemma QT connector (I2C)
  • Dimensions – TBD

Raspberry Pi RP2040 mini keyboard

It’s quite a different product than the T-Keyboard as it lacks wireless connectivity and a small display, but does offer expandability via I2C through PMOD and Qwicc connector. It does not need a battery either, and instead can be used as a USB HID keyboard & mouse when connected to a desktop computer (Windows/Linux/MacOS), a smartphone (iOS/Android), or an SBC (Raspberry Pi, etc. ).

BB Q20 keyboard featuresThe keyboard can be programmed with Arduino or CircuitPython, and you’ll find more details, including KiCAD and PDF schematics and code samples, on the documentation website.

Solder Party BB Q20 mini keyboard can be purchased on Tindie or Lectronz stores for $28 to $30 plus shipping.

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