Author: Jessica Slater | April 26, 2022
What is Embedded System Software?
Embedded system software is a type of software that is used to operate electronic devices that are not traditional computers, or non-PC. It uses a microchip or another application that sits on top of the chip to control the specific functions for the device. Unlike a traditional computer, embedded software design is not transferable between devices and has fixed hardware capabilities and requirements. Embedded system software is made exclusively for a particular device depending on the device’s specified processing and memory restrictions.
What is the Difference Between Firmware vs. Embedded Software?
Even though the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between embedded system software and firmware. Firmware is a type of embedded software, but not all embedded software is firmware. Embedded software controls a specific function of the overall device, while firmware is a minimalistic operating system instructing the control, monitoring, and data manipulation functions of the device. Firmware is usually developed along with the hardware for the product, then embedded software is developed to command the finished device or system. The added complexity of advancing embedded software presents new and different challenges from more basic firmware.
What is the Difference Between Embedded Systems vs. Embedded Software?
Even though their names are similar, embedded system software and what’s referred to as embedded systems are not the same thing. The embedded system is made of all the hardware in the product that comprises the structure for how the software is embedded into a system. This includes things like central processing units, flash memory devices, timers, power supply circuits, and serial communication ports. The hardware elements of the embedded system are determined early in the design process. Then the embedded system software is designed to control the device using that particular hardware configuration.
Examples of Devices Running Embedded Software
Embedded system software is an essential part of devices made with circuit boards and computer chips including consumer, industrial, automotive, aerospace, medical, commercial, telecom, and military technology. Embedded software systems help you every day with traffic control systems in traffic lights and timing and automation systems found in smart home products. They can also be found in security cameras with motion detectors, image processing systems in medical imaging equipment, and fly-by-wire control systems in aircraft.
While there are many uses of embedded system software, each device shares the same design features and characteristics, including:
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