Aside from the low price, range of I/O options and the PIO, one of the great things about the Pico is the C/C++ SDK. The folks over at Raspberry Pi have done a great job creating a programming environment that is easy to use but still allows you to get close to the hardware if that is what you want. Not to mention the comprehensive documentation.
One downside to using the C/C++ SDK is the lack of libraries. User @martinkooij over at the Raspberry PI forums has compiled a list of available libraries and while the number is increasing it comes nowhere close to the vast array of libraries available when using the Arduino IDE. The Arduino reference documentation alone lists over 4000 libraries.
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.