Raspberry Pi squeezes wireless onto tiny Zero

That’s one small chip for a Pi, one less dongle for all of Pi kind

Can you ‘squeeze’ wireless? It’s intangible, surely?

Maybe so, but it needs somewhere from which to take off and land. And it’s that hardware – an extra Broadcom wireless chip and a special compact antenna – that the Raspberry Pi lot have managed to fit onto the Pi Zero. Now it has built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.1 and Bluetooth Low Energy. As well as all of its original spec: 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, microSD card slot for the operating system and a mini HDMI port for 1080p video out.

Very useful.

Amazingly so, because it frees up the USB port for doing something else other than being jammed up with a clunky wireless adaptor. Which can break the kind of tight-space projects that Zeros tend to get used for. And/or, the budget. The original Pi Zero was only £4, but a wireless adaptor or USB hub could cost several times that. Still comparatively small change, but if your project involves ten or ten thousand Zeros running in a system, it all mounts up. The new Pi Zero W is £9.60, bare bones.

Don’t call me that.

No, ‘bare bones’ as in just the board. Raspberry Pi, which is also celebrating its fifth birthday, has also released an official custom case for the Zero W, complete with different lids to work with the camera module or some kind of widget attached to the GPIO pins. Price with the case is £15.60.

But, as ever, the company’s many retail partners and enthusiastic community will be offering custom parts, accessories and bundle packs. Get started at Raspberrypi.org. We’ve got a Pi Zero W here and are embarking on some interesting stuff with it – watch this space.