The Raspberry Pi Pico W is a tiny $6 single-board computer with low-power RP2040 microcontroller and a wireless chip that supports WiFi 4 (802.11n) and Bluetooth 5.2.

But when the Pico W launched last summer, only the WiFi was actually usable, since there was no software support for Bluetooth functionality. Now Raspberry Pi has released Pi Pico SDK version 1.5.0 with initial support for Bluetooth.

Bluetooth functionality is still considered beta and may be a bit buggy. But this release paves the way for an “actual release,” in the future.

This beta release includes support for Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth classic technology, enabling the Raspberry Pi Pico W to use the Bluetooth protocol to communicate with other nearby devices.

Sample applications include the ability to connect a Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, or other peripherals or to send information like board temperature to other devices wirelessly.

Raspberry Pi is tapping the open source BTStack implementation of the Bluetooth stack. BTStack developer BlueKitchen says the software is free for non-commercial use, but requires a license for commercial applications. But Raspberry Pi says it’s licensed BTStack for “more permissive use on RP2040,” suggesting that developers will be able to sell Raspberry Pi Pico W-based projects that incorporate Bluetooth. You just might want to wait until it’s out of beta before doing that.

Or you could pick up a Raspberry Pi Pico W clone like the Banana Pi BPI-PicoW-S3 which has supported Bluetooth since it first launched last fall.

via Hacker News and CNX Software

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3 replies on “Raspberry Pi Pico W SDK update brings initial Bluetooth support”

  1. “BTStack developer BlueKitchen says the software is free for non-commercial use, but requires a license for commercial applications.”
    I’ll put my pedant hat on to say that this condition would mean that this software is not open source by either the OSI or FSF definitions. The fact that Raspberry Pi has not clarified what the actual terms are, and I mean a specific license document that I can read with public agreement from the source that it applies, would prevent me from using this in any open source or commercial project. I would only use it for personal projects that I didn’t intend to distribute, and at that point I’d likely choose something where my skills would be more easily used on a project with different distribution plans.

  2. how creating a emergency mesh wifi network ?
    I need only repeater and connect small town using wifi.

    1. If you really want to do that, you have bigger problems than the chip you use. Your biggest problem is powering all the mesh nodes you’re going to need, because WiFi covers a small range and a small town is a big range. You’d also need to focus more on antennas to extend the range from each node, because something like the Pico has a tiny built-in antenna and won’t go as far. While packing Picos more tightly would work as well as placing them loosely with better antennas, the former plan would require a lot more power and expense. If you’re thinking about software at this stage, you’re doing it wrong.

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