What’s the best kind of upgrade a piece of consumer technology can get? A free one that doesn’t require you to do anything other than accept a new version of the software it’s running.
That’s precisely what every current (and future) owner of the Raspberry Pi Pico W just got with the addition of Bluetooth support to SDK 1.5.1. This is possible because the CYW43439 radio chipset used on the wireless version of the Pi Pico has always had Bluetooth capabilities, they just weren’t officially accessible from the C or MicroPython environments until now. In a corresponding blog post, [Eben Upton] explains that part of the delay was due to difficulties in getting both WiFi and Bluetooth connections to work simultaneously over the three-pin SPI bus that links the two chips on the board.
One thing that struck us as particularly interesting here is the use of BlueKitchen’s BTStack to provide support for both Bluetooth Classic and Low Energy profiles. This library is released under a modified version of the BSD 3-Clause license that otherwise specifically forbids commercial usage. That would be a problem for anyone who wanted to sell a gadget built around the Pico W, so Raspberry Pi Ltd negotiated — and presumably paid for — a special dispensation so commercial use is in the clear.
We should note that technically Bluetooth support was available in a beta state previously, albeit without this new license agreement made with BlueKitchen. Though anyone with a keen eye knew Bluetooth support was coming well before that, our own [Elliot Williams] called it when he first set eyes on the Pi Pico W back in 2022.