Embedded software is a type of software that is used to operate electronic devices that are not traditional computers. These types of devices include cars, biomedical devices, televisions, and industrial robots. Embedded software is written specifically for those devices and is intended to control a limited number of functions based on the device’s processing and memory constraints.
End users of these devices rarely interact with the embedded software directly; instead, the embedded software receives external input from the device itself or other machines. Because of this, embedded software is distinct from operating systems and firmware. Devices that use embedded software usually don’t have firmware or an operating system and vice-versa.
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Embedded software vs. firmware
The primary difference between embedded software and firmware is that embedded software is usually the sole computer code a device uses to function. Firmware, on the other hand, works in conjunction with a traditional computer’s operating system and software applications to complete a wide range of functions.
Embedded software vs. operating system
The primary difference between an embedded software and an operating system is the range of functions that each type of software can perform. Usually, device manufacturers design embedded software to execute a narrow scope of commands with very little variability in how the device completes those actions. In contrast, operating systems can execute a wide range of commands with a high degree of variability according to the user’s preferences. Additionally, all operating systems require an underlying firmware to function.