Pico W

In January last year, the Raspberry Pi Foundation entered the microcontroller market by launching its first product: Raspberry Pi Pico for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and robotics projects. Priced at just $4, it is built on RP2040, the flagship microcontroller chip designed by Raspberry Pi in the UK.

For the unversed, Raspberry Pi Pico is built on TSMC’s 40nm low-power process and includes two 133MHz Arm Cortex-M0+ cores, 264kB of on-chip SRAM, and the company’s unique programmable I/O subsystem.

Now, after having sold nearly two million Pico boards, Raspberry Pi on Thursday announced the successor to Raspberry Pi Pico called the “Pico W” costing $6 for loT applications and projects requiring wireless communication.

The new model, Pico W, is basically based on the same hardware but adds 802.11n wireless networking to the platform while retaining complete pin compatibility with its older sibling.

“Fast cores, large memory, and flexible interfacing make RP2040 a natural building block for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. But Pico itself has one obvious missing feature for IoT: a method for connecting to the network. Now, this is about to change,” Raspberry Pi founder Eden Upton wrote in a blog post about Pico W.

Further, the new Pico W has an onboard 2.4GHz wireless interface using an Infineon CYW43439, which supports both Bluetooth 5.2 and Bluetooth Low-Energy (LE). However, Bluetooth is not enabled on Pico W at launch with Raspberry Pi hinting that they may do so in the future.

It has an ABRACON onboard antenna for Wi-Fi connectivity. The wireless interface is connected via SPI to the RP2040. In addition, the device also supports MicroPython and C++ languages.

Let’s have a look at the following key features of Pico W:

  • RP2040 microcontroller with 2MB of flash memory
  • On-board single-band 2.4GHz wireless interfaces (802.11n)
  • Micro USB B port for power and data (and for reprogramming the flash)
  • 40 pin 21mmx51mm ‘DIP’ style 1mm thick PCB with 0.1″ through-hole pins also with edge castellations
  • Exposes 26 multi-function 3.3V general purpose I/O (GPIO)
  • 23 GPIO are digital-only, with three also being ADC capable
  • Can be surface-mounted as a module
  • 3-pin Arm serial wire debug (SWD) port
  • Simple yet highly flexible power supply architecture
    • Various options for easily powering the unit from micro USB, external supplies or batteries
  • High quality, low cost, high availability
  • Comprehensive SDK, software examples and documentation

 

The Foundation also announced two other Pico family members too: Pico H ($5) and Pico WH ($7), which add pre-populated headers and a new 3-pin debug connector to the Pico and Pico W respectively.

Those interested can order the Raspberry Pi Pico W for $6 and Pico H for $5 from select resellers, including The Pi Hut. The Pico WH is expected to be launched in the coming months and will cost $7.