In January of last year, the Raspberry Pi Foundation introduced its Pico, a $4 board that includes the company’s own RP2040 microcontroller.
Since the launch of the product, the enterprise has sold nearly two million Pico boards, and the RP2040 has reached a large number of third-party products.
Despite the fast cores, large memory and flexible interface of the Pico product. But an important feature of the Internet of Things missing was a way to connect to the network.
The organization has now launched the Pico W product, which adds support for the 802.11n wireless network standard for the Pico product. This makes Pico W useful for IoT projects and the like.
It’s also more expensive than the Pico, at $6. Eben Upton, CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, notes that adding radios to products is too expensive.
And the original $4 Pico is still there. And if cost is a big factor and you can do without a wireless network connection, you can still get the cheaper Pico product.
The organization says it has added wireless connectivity to the Pico board using the CYW43439 chip. This chip supports Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth Low Energy as well. But the foundation says it’s not currently enabled.
There are accessories available to connect the Pico board to the network. But it was expensive and much bigger than having a wireless network built into the microcontroller itself. Plus it used pins that could be connected to other accessories.
Raspberry Pi announces the Pico W . microcontroller
Pico W brings wireless connectivity. And you can use it as an alternative to a project based on the standard Pico if you want.
And the 802.11n Pico W connection seems pretty old in the Wi-Fi 6E days. But it should be noted that the Pico W is not designed to be a computer that can surf the Internet, but rather is designed to control electronic devices or other devices.
The foundation also announced two other products, Pico H ($5) and Pico WH ($7). The products are similar to the Pico and Pico W, but cost more and come with pre-installed pin headers and a debug connector.
Raspberry Pi says the RP2040 microcontroller is suitable for both commercial and industrial applications. But the global shortage of semiconductors has greatly accelerated its adoption.
While the foundation promises that it has plans to make tens of millions of Pico boards, it has also run into trouble, with its more complex computers, such as the Raspberry Pi 4, becoming difficult to purchase.