In this article, you will learn about the definition and examples of firmware and software.
Definition of Firmware
Firmware is a kind of software that is used to control, analyze, and manage data on a variety of appliances. The firmware is programmed by the manufacturer and installed immediately in the factory. All electronic devices have a firmware.
The firmware is also known as hardware software due to the fact that it gives low-level control over the device’s hardware. The firmware on your computer is used to store the codes needed to operate hardware like keyboards, hard drives, and other components. Firmware is therefore important for new computers.
Example of Firmware
- TV Remote Controls
- Computer Hard Drives
- Motherboard BIOS
The Firmware used in a TV remote interprets the input from the keys pressed and activates the infrared LED properly
When we tell our computer to save a file to the hard drive, the OS gets the command and uses the drivers to connect to the hard drive. The firmware in the hard drive engages its hardware control mechanism (controlling the read/write head, engaging the platter motor, etc.) when it receives these instructions and eventually stores the data on the hard drive.
Firmware is a piece of software that runs permanently on hardware’s ROM and is not meant to be changed. Our personal computers’ BIOS serves as the best example of this.
Definition of Software
A software is a set of instructions, that tells the computer what to do. User interaction with the computer is made possible by the software. It also comes with a number of documents, like the software manual, that are designed to help users understand the software.
Hardware can only function properly with the help of software. Without software, hardware would be unable to function properly. Therefore, hardware and software are mutually dependent. They combine to create a computer system.
Example of Software
- Microsoft Offices
- Operating System
- Video Player
- Audio Player
- Photo Editor
- Video Editor
- Smartphone Apps
Read More: Types of software
Differences between Firmware and Software
1. Firmware is a type of system software that is associated with the working of a specific device. Whereas, Software is a set of instruction and commands encoded to perform a specific task or general working of a device (computer)
2. Each device has its specific firmware that is compatible with it. While A device should fulfil the minimal requirements of a software for it to be successfully installed on it.
3. A device cannot operate without its firmware. It is basically an operating software of the respective device. On the other hand, A device can operate and perform basic operations without application software but without system software, it cannot be operated.
4. Software is made to interact with users. While, The firmware on a device is hidden since it is not made for user interaction.
5. Software is typically created using both high level and low level languages, like java. On the other hand, firmware is created using low level programming languages.
6. The software’s size is very large, typically between a few gigabytes (GB) and a few hundred kilobytes (KB). Whereas, The firmware’s size is small typically only takes up a few kilobytes of space (KB).
7. The process of Software updates are easy. While, In the case of Firmware, the updates are typically difficult.
8. Example of Firmware are: TV firmware, phone firmware. Whereas, Example of software are: MS Word, VC Player, Windows 10
Firmware is a kind of software that helps in controlling device hardware, whereas software is a set of instructions that instructs the computer to carry out a specific operation. Software development takes longer time whereas firmware takes less to develop.