What is firmware? What is the different Firmware and Software?


With so many “-wares” in the computer, it can cause some of us to be confused about definitions and concepts. We can not explain all of the “-wares”, in this article we will discuss what is the term “firmware” and how it differs from software (software). Please refer to!

What is firmware?

Surely we often confuse – firmware is software or not? According to Wikipedia, the firmware is “a kind of computer program that provides low levels of control over the specific hardware of the device.”

Almost any device today, whether computer, phone, stereo, car or washing machine, comes from the manufacturer with a number of different firmware versions.

Firmware is a term used to refer to fixed-level and low-level electronic devices. Some typical examples of firmware can be found from products such as remote controls or pocket calculators, to hardware devices such as hard drives, keyboards, thin transistor LCDs or memory cards. , industrial robots, ..

For simple devices, the firmware is all they need to operate. For more advanced devices like computers, you need software software – for example, operating systems and software applications – to use them.

In addition, the firmware is also available in more sophisticated consumer devices to meet the basic needs of the device as well as perform more advanced functions.

Firmware vs Software: What is the different?

There is no clear boundary between firmware and software. However, the firmware mainly involves very basic and low-end processes in one device. Without the firmware, the device can not work at all.

Firmware is read only in read-only memory, or OTP / read-only memory is programmable, as more sophisticated firmware usually resides in flash memory for updating. Common reasons for firmware updates include fixing bugs or adding functionality to the device.

Again, you need to understand that – firmware is a bunch of software; that is the programming code. The confusion comes from the fact that the “software” we typically use is for programs like Microsoft Word, web browser, etc. The actual software is any code you can find on a device (computer, phone, car or any other smart device).

It’s more accurate to call software, such as Microsoft Word, web browser, etc. In addition, they are called “application software” because they are applications. However, this is too vague and unrealistic. This is how “software application” is simply “software”.

One of the major differences between firmware and application software is that firmware is stored in unstable memory (ROM, EPROM, or flash memory), while application software can work from memory. variable, unstable and virtual.

In fact, the firmware is in memory with a size limitation meaning that a firmware program must be small in size. Firmware can be as small as a few kilobytes, depending on the specifics of the device, it may also be larger.

Frequency of updates is a big difference between firmware and application software. In many devices, the firmware is not updated by the user and usually the device manufacturer does not allow the user to access the firmware.

For example, on devices such as hard disks, optical drives, consumer electronics, and so on, often users do not have the opportunity to adjust the firmware. This is good because if the user can mess up the firmware of these devices, the result may be a device deactivated.

In other cases, ie the computer BIOS and firmware of the smartphone and music player, the user can update. This is even recommended because by providing a firmware update, manufacturers can fix bugs in previous software releases or provide new features.

However, even if a device allows for software updates, you also need to be vigilant and really, really, really need to know what you are doing because otherwise you may have to “tender” the device. And this certainly is not what you want.