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.