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Raspberry Pi takes on Arduino with new $4 Pico microcontroller

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Today, the Raspberry Pi foundation is out with the latest addition to its collection of miniature computers. Entering as the smallest release yet to the Raspberry Pi family, the new model departs from models with a new microcontroller-class design. Entering to take on Arduino, Raspberry Pi Pico stands out with a compact form factor and affordable $4 price tag. Head below for a closer look. 

Raspberry Pi Pico arrives as first microcontroller

Raspberry Pi is no stranger to making absolutely tiny computers, with even the foundation’s flagship models fitting in the palm of your hand. Not to mention the miniature Pi Zero that arrives with an even more compact design. Though for its latest release, Raspberry Pi is taking that emphasis to a new level with its new Pico. 

Entering as the first microcontroller from Raspberry Pi, Pico enters as a direct competitor to the Arduino. It ditches the full operating system found on the usual Pi models in order to carry out programmed instructions. So because there’s no OS, it can get away with being powered by a dual-core Arm RP2040 chip that’s only supplemented by 264KB of RAM.

There’s no onboard Wi-Fi or Bluetooth but a single micro-USB port allows you to plug it into a computer to program. A series of 30 GPIO pins line the outside of the board so that you can wire it into a variety of projects just like a typical Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi has partnered with brands like Adafruit to release a variety of kits for the Pico that showcase how you can leverage the microcontroller. Ranging from a handheld retro console to some add-on boards for controlling addressable LED lights, there is already an impressive stable of components available for the new release.

Entering at just $4

Aside from its compact size, the price tag here is sure to be one of the more eye-catching aspects of the Raspberry Pi Pico. Entering as the most affordable release yet from the foundation, it’s now available for $4 from retailers like CanaKit and Adafruit.

9to5Toys’ Take

Raspberry Pi has continued to drop the prices of its releases, and the new Pico microcontroller delivers on that with the most affordable offering yet from the company. There’s certainly a lot to like here for $4, but I suspect that a lot of tinkerers are still going to want to spend the extra $1 and grab the more full-fledged Raspberry Pi Zero. 

But don’t get me wrong, the Raspberry Pi Pico is definitely going to catch the eye of makers with its smaller size and better power efficiency. I can see these being particularly popular when it comes to working with addressable LEDs and the like. So for cosplayers and prop makers looking to fit some compact electronics into their creations, the Pico looks like it’ll be a great addition to the Raspberry Pi family. 

Source: Raspberry Pi

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