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Raspberry Pi Pico W gets Wi-Fi for cable-free IoT tinkering

$6 microboard wants to be the brains for your next hardware and coding projects

Raspberry Pi Pico W hot stuff on green background

Bedroom coders and fans of homebrew hardware have been well-served by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, from the OG Pi to the dinky Pi Zero and most recently the Pi Pico dev board. Now the latter has been refreshed with the one thing it was missing: Wi-Fi.

At £6/$6, the Raspberry Pi Pico W is an affordable off-the-shelf microcontroller that can play middleman between the hardware and software elements of your hobbyist projects.

The original Pico quickly became an Internet Of Things essential, despite having no way to connect to a network, and found its way into plenty of commercial and industrial projects. Now this new version has 802.11n wireless support baked in from the factory.

It’s still powered by the home-grown RP2040 microcontroller, which has a dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ CPU clocked at 133MHz, paired with 264Kb of on-chip SRAM and 2MB of flash memory. It’s fully programmable in the C/C++ and MicroPython code languages.

The overall form factor hasn’t changed, with the board having just enough enough room to squeeze on an Infineon CYW43439 Wi-Fi chip. That means it keeps the same pin compatibility, for anyone looking to quickly swap out old for new. The wireless chip technically supports Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low-Energy, but neither are enabled at launch. Raspberry Pi does say it could flick the switch on both in the future.

The Foundation reckons it has shipped nearly two million Pico boards since it was first introduced back in the beginning of 2021. Expect that number to climb higher now that networking comes built-in for just a little extra cash.

It will be joined by the Pico WH, which adds pre-populated headers for £1 /$1 extra, and a new 3-pin debug connector to make troubleshooting that much easier. The Pico W is on sale today from various online retailers including The Pi Hut here in the UK, while the Pico WH will follow later in August.