I understand hardware is cheap now, but the madness has to stop! Pimoroni Pico Wireless is an upcoming add-on board for Raspberry Pi Pico adding a MicroSD card and ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth module.
While it’s a nice idea to add wireless connectivity to Raspberry Pi Pico, ESP32 is a dual-core Xtensa LX6 processor clocked at 160 to 240 MHz with WiFi, Bluetooth, and plenty of I/Os that should be able to handle most tasks better than Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ processor clocked at 48 MHz by default, although we’ve also seen it overclocked up to 252 MHz.
As shown above, Pico Wireless is just a separate board connected to Raspberry Pi Pico over SPI through one of those “GPIO expander” boards, specifically Pico Omnibus. The prototype above features an ESP32-WROOM-32E module with 4 MB SPI flash, a PCB antenna for WiFI 4 and Bluetooth 4.2/5.x LE connectivity, as well as a MicroSD card slot. There’s also a user push-button and an RGB LED.
Sometimes it makes sense to have two chips, as the RP2040 Cortex-M0+ should consume less, which would be beneficial when running on battery, but the Pico board does not include battery support. So I guess the main benefit would be for people having already developed an application on Raspberry Pi Pico, and wanting to connect it to the network.
Pimoroni employee Phil Howard (aka Gadgetoid) showcased the solution on Twitter with a demo serving an HTML file from an SD card over WiFi.
— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 5, 2021
That does the job, but you could also just remove the Raspberry Pi Pico board to achieve the same result by powering Pico Wireless with a separate 5V (or is it 3.3V) power source. The software would likely be quite similar since like RP2040, ESP32 can be programmed with the Arduino IDE or MicroPython. Note that Pimoroni will provide its own MicroPython firmware. Using the C/C++ SDK for the respective processor would however lead to a fairly different source code.
We don’t know yet when Pimoroni will launch the Pico Wireless board, but it could prove more interesting to get a USB-powered “ESP32 Pico Wireless” board as well that could work independently and leverage the Raspberry Pi Pico ecosystem.
Via Tom’s Hardware