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The SparkFun ESP32 Thing is a comprehensive development platform for Espressif’s ESP32, their super-charged version of the popular ESP8266. Like the 8266, the ESP32 is a WiFi-compatible microcontroller, but to that it adds support for Bluetooth low-energy (i.e BLE, BT4.0, Bluetooth Smart), and nearly 30 I/O pins. The ESP32’s power and versatility will make it the foundation of IoT and connected projects for many years to come.
Why the name? We lovingly call it the “Thing” because it’s the perfect foundation for your Internet of Things project. The Thing does everything from turning on an LED to posting data with your chosen platform, and can be programmed just like any microcontroller. You can even program the Thing through the Arduino IDE by installing the ESP32 Arduino Core.
The SparkFun ESP32 Thing equips the ESP32 with everything necessary to program, run and develop on the wonderchip. In addition to the WiFi/BLE SoC, the Thing includes an FTDI FT231x, which converts USB to serial, and allows your computer to program and communicate with the microcontroller. It also features a LiPo charger, so your ESP32 project can be battery-powered and truly wireless. Additionally, the board includes a handful of LEDs and buttons to aid in your development.
Note: To use the Bluetooth or BLE functionality of the ESP32, you will need to use the Espressif IDF not the Arduino IDE. Currently, there is no time frame on when the Arduino IDE support is going to be released.