Raspberry Pi announces the Pico W for $6

Pico W

Last January, the Raspberry Pi Foundation entered the microcontroller market with the launch of its first product: Raspberry Pi Pico for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and robotics projects. It costs just $4 and is built on RP2040, the flagship microcontroller chip designed by Raspberry Pi in the UK.

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

Now, after selling nearly two million Pico cards, Raspberry Pi announced on Thursday the successor to Raspberry Pi Pico, the “Pico W,” which costs $6 for loT applications and projects that require wireless communications.

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

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

Furthermore, the new Pico W has a built-in 2.4GHz wireless interface using an Infineon CYW43439, which supports both Bluetooth 5.2 and Bluetooth Low-Energy (LE). However, Bluetooth was not enabled on Pico W at launch and Raspberry Pi suggests they may do so in the future.

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

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

  • RP2040 microcontroller with 2MB flash memory
  • Built-in single-band 2.4 GHz wireless interfaces (802.11n)
  • Micro USB B port for power and data (and for flash reprogramming)
  • 40 pin 21mm x 51mm ‘DIP’ style 1mm thick PCB with 0.1″ through pins, also with edge cabinets
  • Displays 26 General Purpose 3.3 VI/O Multifunction (GPIO)
  • 23 GPIO are digital only, three of which are also ADC capable
  • Can be mounted as a module
  • 3-pin Arm serial wire debug (SWD) port
  • Simple yet highly flexible power architecture
    • Several options to easily power the device via micro USB, external power supplies or batteries
  • High quality, low cost, high availability
  • Comprehensive SDK, software samples and documentation

The Foundation also announced two other Pico family members: 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 launch in the coming months and will cost $7.

Leave a Comment