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

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

Here is the new Raspberry Pi, the Pico W // Source: Raspberry Pi

Launched early last year, the Pico was the first Raspberry Pi product to take advantage of an in-house designed RP2040 chip. This ultra-basic microcontroller, however, suffered from a defect for some users: the absence of wireless connectivity by default (adapters could however be added). A problem that Raspberry Pi is correcting this week by launching its Pico W. This new model takes up almost identically the specificities of its predecessor, but with Wi-Fi support. What makes it a perfect microcontroller for IoT projects.

The price of this little Pico W is on the other hand revised upwards for the occasion. It will indeed pay the modest sum of 6 dollars each to get your 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 on this subject in March, the CEO of Raspberry Pi explained that ” the radio compliance alone of a modern Raspberry Pi product costs nearly half a million dollars “.

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

Wi-Fi but no Bluetooth… yet?

To add Wi-Fi to its Pico W, Raspberry Pi relies on an Infineon CYW43439 chip that is also Bluetooth compatible… but contrary to what one might think, the Pico W is not yet able to support Wi-Fi. Bluetooth. We imagine that this function can be activated later, but for the moment nothing is confirmed. Note also that the Pico W is content with Wi-Fi 802.11n connectivity, very rudimentary with regard to current Wi-Fi 6 / 6E standards. However, it should be sufficient for the intended use, the Pico W simply having the objective of remotely controlling other electronic devices.

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To expand its offer, Raspberry Pi has also announced two other products: the Pico H and Pico WH. They take up the characteristics of the Pico and Pico W respectively, but both cost a dollar more. They are then delivered with headers of pre-attached pins and a debug connector.

The Pico W and Pico H are available now, while the WH variant will arrive in August. Be careful though, due to chip shortages, these different models could be difficult to find. Raspberry Pi still promises the production of “ several tens of millions of additional Picos » to avoid as much as possible that the dribs and drab deliveries go on forever.

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