The beauty of capable computing is that aside from being cheap enough, it should also be good enough.
While we have seen some great WiFi IoT boards like Wemos D1 mini and Lolin32, there has not been anything like the newly launched W600-PICO board from Wemos. The new W600-PICO board, based on Winner MicroW600 Arm Cortex-M3 WiSoC, is the cheapest board ever from Wemos to come preloaded with a MicroPython firmware for just $2.10 + shipping.
Unlike the previous W600-based boards which have stayed as designed and probably been used as a WiFi-to-serial board only, the new W600-PICO seems to be a rather more interesting one, perhaps first viable competitor, for the nearly ubiquitous ESP8266-based boards due to its feature set and lower cost. The board which runs MicroPython out of the box and is built around an Arm Core might be preferred to the already existing Espressif-based boards, asides features, it also has a price point to match them with.
The W600-PICO board breaks out with two 10 pin headers: 9 x PWM, 15 x GPIO, 1 x UART, 1 x12C, 1 x SPI , Wake Up, Reset, + 5V , +3.3v and GND pins. Its other features include:
- Wireless connectivity – 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 4 up to 150 Mbps
- SoC – Winner Micro W600 Arm Cortex-M3 MCU running @ 80MHz with 1 MB flash
- Misc – Reset Button
- USB – 1 x Micro USB port for power and programming which is connected using a CH340 USB to TTL chip
- 3.3V I/O voltage
- Real Time Clock and hardware cryptography support
- Power supply – 5V through the micro USB port.
- Dimensions – 33 x 20.3 mm and
- Weight – 3 grams
Coming preloaded with MicroPython, the toolchain problem people experience with previous W600-based boards will no longer exist. Users who purchased the board already seem to be satisfied with it as they affirm it is all good and that the Micropython works immediately.
To provide a means of learning about the board, Wemos has set up a Wiki page where more details about the mini WiFi board can be found, alongside instructions on how to re-flash the board and update the firmware. There are also codes that show how to get started with networking, RTC, I / Os and timers.