New Kid on the BLEck

For anyone who hasn’t already heard yet, yesterday saw the release of yet another contender for the ESP’s cheap, small and connected WiFi device crown. This one comes from the Raspberry Pi stable and is a revamp of the RP2040 “Pico” which, in this new Pico-W variant, now sports a shiny, new Infineon  CYW43439 WiFi module to provide 802.11n connectivity.

My tongue-firmly-in-cheek title typo refers to the fact that the module also includes the hardware for both Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy …but unfortunately neither are actually enabled in this initial version of the Pico-W.

The great news about this new board is that it is cheap ($6 US) and actually available (unless, like me, you happen to live in Japan, in which case you can settle in for another 8-month wait while the Japanese government decide whether they’re going to “hanko” the approval or not — fun fact:- the Pi Zero 2W was released on October 28th, 2021, but only became officially available in Japan a couple of weeks ago).

The Pico-W certainly looks interesting (a lot more so than the non-WiFi original) and might be a real contender, with Eben Upton hinting in his announcement post that the pipeline is in place to produce millions of these boards (he was referring to the Pico family, not specifically the Pico-W). With the supply lines in place to get these into customer’s hands at a reasonable price across a large part of the globe (Element14, RS, Digikey and Mouser), they might well become the new, go-to board for connected projects. An SDK is already available for C/C++ and a network capable Micro-Python image also already exists.

If you’re looking to get your hands on one (and I do mean “one”), I can vouch for the fact The PiHut in the UK still had stock a few minutes ago and will ship internationally without breaking the bank.

Ah …seems like I might have snagged their last one. Sorry!

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