One of the longstanding shortcomings of the Raspberry Pi—the mini-computer that everybody loves to love—is its lack of wireless connectivity. Sure, you can buy a USB Wi-Fi dongle, but that’s an added expense, and it means one fewer USB port at your disposal on a device that’s already somewhat limited, connectivity-wise.
Luckily, we may not have to wait much longer for a Raspberry Pi with built-in Wi-Fi: According to the programming news and information site I Programmer, the United States Federal Communications Commission has published documents to its website that show a new Raspberry Pi with both on-board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE.
The documents, which the FCC posts as part of its customary testing process, include photos that indicate the new device—dubbed the Raspberry Pi 3—includes both the requisite electronics for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. According to I Programmer, the on-board Espressif ESP8266 Wi-Fi chipset adds about $2 to the cost of manufacturing the device.
The story behind the story: Along with the Arduino microcontroller, Raspberry Pi is one of the go-to hardware platforms for the maker and hardware modding communities, and for good reason. You can buy a Raspberry Pi model for as little as $5, and you can buy one and set it up for use as an actual, standalone PC. And since they run Linux and support popular programming languages such as Python and C++, it’s relatively easy for a programmer to dive right in and get cranking on a project.
No further details...yet
Beyond the new Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips, the boards don’t appear much different from the Raspberry Pi 2, I Programmer notes, but the report adds that the FCC documents provide “no further specification,” so any other improvements are a mystery for now. We also don’t yet know about pricing or availability, but I Programmer suggests that we may hear more in the coming days.
We can’t wait. In the meantime, take a peek at our slideshow of cool Raspberry Pi projects from last March for inspiration and to get an idea of the sorts of things you can do with a Raspberry Pi.
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