I've been incredibly lucky to get to play with the new Raspberry Pi Pico in pre release and, in short, it's rather brilliant! First up, this new board contains custom Raspberry Pi silicon, the RP2040 chip, which will also be sold as a standalone product for people to develop products/systems/boards with.
The Pico is set to retail at less than a £5er and you'll want to check out this page for the full spec and the pin in/out of the Pico but the highlights are;
I started following the Getting Started PDF for C/C++ and installed the SDK/ toolchains. The guide walks you through installing everything you need from the terminal and steps through how to make and build the examples. Many will opt to edit and create code in something like Visual Studio (again bundled into the Rasbian image) but for my simple tinkering I opened some of the examples using nano, tweaked and then rebuilt them in the terminal. You honestly don't need to be a terminal guru to get to this point, simply follow the documentation. The resulting tweaked examples, when built, create a .UF2 file which you can drag and drop to the Pico which flashes incredibly quickly.
Perhaps more accessible for some is the Micro Python or "Pico Python"route, the first task here is to drag and drop the Pico Python firmware onto the device, for convenience a pre built binary is available on the Pico Getting Started page. Also in the getting started with Micro Python on Pico documentation there is a guide for you if you are keen and want want to build your own binary. Flashing the micro python firmware to the Pico is another simple drag and drop operation and you can, of course, swap between C/C++ and Micro Python by re-flashing.
Following the micro python getting started guide it walks you through interacting with the REPL using minicom within the terminal which is fun to tinker with. There's a decent walk through of all the examples in the micro python repository in the documentation. This includes examples that use most of the Pico's features, PWM, UART, SPI, PIO , but there's also examples for things like interrupts, and additional common sensors, Neopixels and LED's.
Towards the end of the Micro Python guide there is a section on setting up an IDE, Thonny, to provide a nice environment for working with the Pico. Thonny is a nice simple IDE that's again bundled in the Raspbian OS, it's pretty straightforward to set up and get going and you can work directly with the REPL via a shell window or you can save and deploy scripts temporarily or with persistence to the Pico.
So! My thoughts, it's great, a low price, really fast and well spec'd micro controller that at launch already has a heap of resources and examples, I'm sure that at the price point it will attract a mass of users and a strong community which will create and share lots of wonderful projects. I can't wait to see it grow!