Raspberry Pi designs a new Pico microcontroller … with an extra trick


A little over a year after the launch of its Pico microcontroller, the Raspberry Pi unveils a successor: the Pico W. This new model uses the same technical foundation, but with an additional advantage: Wi-Fi.

Raspberry Pi Pico W
Here’s the new Raspberry Pi, the Pico W // Source: Raspberry Pi

Launched early last year, the Pico was the first Raspberry Pi product to leverage an in-house designed RP2040 chip. This ultra-basic microcontroller, however, suffered from a flaw for some users: the absence of wireless connectivity by default (adapters could be added, however). An issue the Raspberry Pi is correcting this week by launching its Pico W. This new model almost identically picks up on the specifics of its predecessor, but with Wi-Fi support, making it a perfect microcontroller for IoT projects.

The price of this small Pico W is instead revised upwards for the occasion. In fact, he will pay the modest sum of $ 6 each to get his hands on it. A significant price increase (especially if you have to buy in quantity) justified by the cost of the certifications necessary for the marketing of wireless products. Asked by The Verge about it in March, the Raspberry Pi CEO explained that ” the radio compliance of a modern Raspberry Pi product alone costs nearly half a million dollars “.

Note that it says the original Pico will remain available from the Raspberry Pi catalog, still for $ 4.

Wi-Fi but no Bluetooth … yet?

To add Wi-Fi to its Pico W, the Raspberry Pi relies on an Infineon CYW43439 chip which is also Bluetooth compatible … but contrary to what one might think, the Pico W is not yet capable of supporting Wi-Fi. Bluetooth. We imagine that this feature can be activated later, but for the moment nothing is confirmed. Also note that the Pico W is content with 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity, which is very rudimentary as far as current Wi-Fi 6 / 6E standards are concerned. However, should it be sufficient for its intended use, the Pico W merely aims to remotely control other electronic devices.

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To expand its offering, Raspberry Pi has also announced two more products: the Pico H and the Pico WH. They reflect the characteristics of the Pico and Pico W respectively, but both cost an extra dollar. They are then delivered with headers of pre-connected pins and a debug connector.

The Pico W and Pico H are now available, while the WH variant will arrive in August. Be warned though, due to the shortage of chips, these different models may be hard to find. Raspberry Pi still promises to produce ” several tens of millions of additional Picos »To avoid as much as possible that smudges and dull deliveries go on indefinitely.

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