The main difference between firmware and software is that the firmware is a special type of software that helps to a control device’s hardware while a software is a collection of instructions that tells the computer to perform a specific task.
A computer or an electronic device consists of two main components as hardware and software. Hardware refers to the physical components of the device. Software is a set of instructions that can perform a specific task. There are various types of software. Firmware is a special type of software that is specifically designed to handle hardware or electronic devices.
Key Areas Covered
What is Firmware
Firmware is a special type of software. It can be in any engineering-based product, computing peripheral or consumer appliances. It is used to monitor, manage, and control data of various appliances. One example is the washing machine – it functions according to the firmware embedded into it. Another example is TV remote, which consists of an electronic circuit and has preprogrammed firmware. These devices function according to firmware embedded into them.
Firmware-based systems get input from the user. Then they process that data and finally provide the output. The output can be thermal, electromagnetic, kinetic, etc. Usually, updating firmware is difficult. For example, to change the functionality of the TV remote, it is necessary to change the entire circuitry.
What is Software
System software helps in operating, controlling and extending the processing capabilities of a computer. They function as the interface between the hardware and end users. Operating systems, compilers, assemblers, interpreters, device drivers are some examples of system software. Usually, system software is developed by computer manufacturers. This software is developed commonly using programming languages such as C, C++, and Assembly.
The other type of software is called as application software. They are designed to achieve a specific user requirement. PowerPoint, Word, and spreadsheets are examples are examples of application software.
Furthermore, there are application software programs that are specifically designed to support business environments. For example, a human resource management system is used to store employee details, salary details etc. whereas a medical center management system is designed to store patient details, doctor details, laboratory report details, payments etc.
Difference Between Firmware and Software
Firmware is a class of computer software that provides the low-level control for the device’s specific hardware. Software refers to a collection of instructions that tells the computer how to perform a particular task.
Updating firmware is difficult. It requires replacement of the circuitry or reprogramming through a special procedure. On the other hand, updating a software is much easier.
Since firmware is used to control hardware, it mainly concerns low level functionalities. Software is used to handle hardware as well as accomplish various user requirements. It concerns low level and high-level functionalities.
Firmware is written using low-level languages. Software is written using low level and high-level languages.
The difference between firmware and software is that the firmware is a special type of software that helps to control device’s hardware while a software is a collection of instructions that tells the computer to perform a specific task.
1. “Firmware.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Aug. 2018, Available here.