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The driver can also get in-dash information while driving in this manner, such as real-time fuel economy and tire pressure readings. Examples of firmware include: or to change the provider of a service associated with the function of the device, such as changing from one mobile phone service provider to another or installing a new operating system.If firmware is upgradable, it is often done via a program from the provider, and will often allow the old firmware to be saved before upgrading so it can be reverted to if the process fails, or if the newer version performs worse.Firmware can either provide a standardized operating environment for the device's more complex software (allowing more hardware-independence), or, for less complex devices, act as the device's complete operating system, performing all control, monitoring and data manipulation functions.Typical examples of devices containing firmware are embedded systems, consumer appliances, computers, computer peripherals, and others.It existed on the boundary between hardware and software; thus the name "firmware".Over time, popular usage extended the word "firmware" to denote any computer program that is tightly linked to hardware, including processor machine instructions for BIOS, bootstrap loaders, or the control systems for simple electronic devices such as a microwave oven, remote control, or computer peripheral.Since 1996, most automobiles have employed an on-board computer and various sensors to detect mechanical problems.
In contrast, firmware in storage devices (harddisks, DVD drives, flash storage) rarely gets updated, even when flash (rather than ROM) storage is used for the firmware; there are no standardized mechanisms for detecting or updating firmware versions.Some low-cost peripherals no longer contain non-volatile memory for firmware, and instead rely on the host system to transfer the device control program from a disk file or CD., most portable music players support firmware upgrades.Some companies use firmware updates to add new playable file formats (codecs).Most computer peripherals are themselves special-purpose computers.
Devices such as printers, scanners, cameras, and USB flash drives have internally stored firmware; some devices may also permit field upgrading of their firmware.As originally used, firmware contrasted with hardware (the CPU itself) and software (normal instructions executing on a CPU).