In June 2022, the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the Pico W, a cheap wireless-enabled variant of the Pico platform, a microcontroller board built around the RP2040 micro.
The Pico platform is a low-cost, high-performance microcontroller board with flexible digital interfaces that was designed in-house by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
The unit consists of a dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ processor with a clock running at up to 133 MHz, 264 kB of SRAM and 2 MB of flash memory onboard. USB 1.1, with host and device support, is available and provides drag-and-drop programming using mass storage mode.
With 26 multi-function GPIO pins, and a multitude of digital ports including 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 2x UART, 3x 12-bit ADC, 16 controllable PWM channels, and an integrated temperature sensor, the diminutive Pico is ready for most maker applications. Finally, eight programmable PIO state machines allow for custom peripheral support.
Onboard Wi-Fi is provided by Infineon’s CYW43439 chip which contains a 2,4 GHz radio that is capable of handling both 802.11n and Bluetooth 5.2 (supporting both Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth LE) signals. Up until now, however, only Wi-Fi was enabled, leaving makers needing Bluetooth out in the cold.
With the release of version 1.5.1 of the C SDK and the latest MicroPython build, the Pico W has now gained the ability to communicate with Bluetooth and BLE devices. The system is configurable, allowing both Bluetooth Classic and BLE to be available simultaneously.
According to Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Eben Uption, “Routing both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth traffic over the single three-pin SPI bus between RP2040 and CYW43439 has been a substantial engineering challenge. We’d like to express our thanks to our friends at Infineon for their assistance in productionising this capability.”
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