The Raspberry Pi Pico W is a $6 microcontroller board with an RP2040 chip, a micro USB port, GPIO pins, and support for 802.11/b/g/n WiFi.

When it first launched a year ago there was one thing that was missing though: Bluetooth support. While the Pico W had Bluetooth hardware, it didn’t have the software to support the low-power, short-range wireless protocol. Now it does.

Raspberry Pi rolled out a build of a Pi Pico SDK with initial support for Bluetooth earlier this year, but now the company says official support is now included in version 1.5.1 of the SDK and the latest MicroPython build.

In other words, all it takes to add Bluetooth functionality to the tiny board is a software update.

The Raspberry Pi Pico W supports Bluetooth 5.2 and can be configured to use Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) profiles individually or both at the same time.

Raspberry Pi positions the Pico W, and the original $4 Pico (which lacks wireless capabilities), as inexpensive devices that can be used for IoT projects like smart lights or digital signage. It can also be connected to sensors, input devices, and other gear for use in applications like the Inky Frame or EnkPi E Ink displays, the PICOmputer pocket-sized computer, or the PicoSystem portable game console.

via Raspberry Pi

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  1. I normally get both power and communication when I use a USB cable to power my Pico. WiFi and Bluetooth are usually slower than USB for communication… which is why I don’t buy the Pico W version. I also have a couple Pi Zero 2W which are easy to use for WiFi and Bluetooth projects (garage temperature, motion sensing, Bluetooth device logging).

    1. Your use cases probably don’t need this, but I have a few projects that could benefit from this because of the significant difference in power usage between the Pico and the Zero. Of course, I’d much prefer to have a Zero and have all the resources of an operating system at my disposal, but there’s only so much that can be done to keep the power consumption down which means you need a pretty large battery to keep it alive without you having to swap them out often. I haven’t benchmarked the usage of a Pico, but it’s likely to be much lower and to have facilities for putting hardware into sleep mode to save power. That makes it much more useful for a battery-powered project. Not everyone intends to use batteries on their projects, but those who do probably value the options differently.