Firmware is a combination of software and hardware. Firmware refers to the read-only memory (ROM) chip that stores the permanent instructions of commonly used computing devices such as calculators, digital cameras, mobile phones, and memory cards.
The most popular example of Firmware is the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) of a computer. The BIOS chip is a motherboard located on the inside of the PC. Which contains instructions on how to initialize the hardware, the BIOS verifies that the components of the computer are working correctly before being able to run the operating system.
In the past, firmware chips could not be rewritten. When the BIOS became obsolete, the only option was to buy a new motherboard. Currently the firmware allows to be updated to a new version.
Firmware is installed in nonvolatile memory such as ROM, PROM, or EPROM. Some devices such as cameras or calculators have firmware that cannot be permanently changed.
Other device vendors allow you to update the firmware on their devices. For example, Apple sends an order to automatically update the firmware of its mobile devices such as iphone, ipod or ipad.
Dell allows updating the BIOS of computers, downloading, from its website, the latest version for the model of a computer.
The most common reasons for firmware updates include fixing bugs or adding new features to the device.