Raspberry Pi Pico W Bluetooth Support Is Just Around the Corner, for Both C/C++ and MicroPython

Six months after launching with Wi-Fi, the Raspberry Pi Pico is set to gain Bluetooth connectivity in the 1.5.0 SDK update.

Raspberry Pi is looking to ring in the new year with a free upgrade for all Raspberry Pi Pico W users, unlocking the $6 board's previously-unavailable Bluetooth 5.2 radio in both C/C++ and MicroPython.

The Raspberry Pi Pico W launched in June last year as a follow-up to the original Raspberry Pi Pico, the company's first device to use an in-house chip: the dual-core RP2040 microcontroller. While boasting near-complete compatibility with the original, the new board packs in a radio that launched with Wi-Fi connectivity — but the hardware's Bluetooth capabilities were locked behind a a lack of software support.

That, thankfully, is to change very soon: The developers working on the Raspberry Pi Pico software development kit (SDK) have put Bluetooth support on the roadmap, preparing it for the 1.5.0 release. "I'd expect to see support publicly released this month," Raspberry Pi's Alasdair Allan confirmed on Mastodon, "with MicroPython support following along soon after."

Once the software update has been shipped, developers will be able to use both the 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth 5.2 features of the on-board Infineon CYW43439 radio module — even simultaneously, should they so choose — over the SPI bus. The update will be available to all Raspberry Pi Pico W boards as a simple firmware upgrade, with no new hardware required.

Those looking to track progress on the update can follow the issue on the Raspberry Pi Pico SDK GitHub repository, where the software is made available under the permissive BSD 3-Clause license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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