One of the first steps to understanding any kind of embedded system is to classify them. This can help you understand the different kinds of embedded systems in their true nature and how they are used in different applications. A complete classification of different embedded systems helps a lot during the designing and planning stage. This is why if you want to learn about embedded systems, pick up an embedded course for learning in detail about the different types. After understanding the basics and getting familiar with the classification, one can also develop their idea from scratch without any complex background knowledge on the subject.
- Real-Time Embedded Systems
Real-time embedded systems are those that have to meet strict deadlines, can’t be turned off, and cannot tolerate delays. They are also called high-reliability systems, real-time systems or RTOS (Real-time Operating systems). Examples of such devices include industrial computers and automotive electronics. These systems must operate reliably even in the presence of unexpected events such as power failures and system crashes. Real-time embedded systems are often used in applications where timing is critical. A processor has a clock speed (MHz) that determines how many instructions can be executed per second by the processor. The clock speed is determined by the amount of electrical current flowing through a wire — the faster the current, the higher the frequency of the electrical signals passing through it. In other words, when you increase your processor’s clock speed, you increase its ability to execute more instructions per second (IPS) without increasing the electrical current flowing through it.
- Stand-Alone Embedded Systems
Stand-alone embedded systems are computer systems that are incorporated into a device that includes an embedded system or an external microprocessor. They are often smaller and less expensive than microcontroller-based systems. Stand-alone systems have no interface to other devices. A stand-alone system has its sources of power and data, which can be connected to other devices via I/O interfaces.
- Network embedded systems
Networked embedded systems are those that have a network interface and can exchange information with other devices, typically over a network infrastructure. They can be controlled by an external device (the network controller), which may be a host computer, or they may interact directly with the user. Networked embedded systems are typically more expensive than stand-alone computers because they require additional hardware components to operate over a network (e.g., Ethernet ports, USB ports). These costs can be amortised over the lifetime of the device by incorporating these devices into a single unit or by purchasing them at once when building the system from scratch.
- Mobile embedded systems
This is one of the fastest-growing types of embedded systems. Mobile embedded systems are computer systems that are used in mobile devices such as phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. These devices typically have a small form factor and a relatively low-powered processor, such as an ARM or MIPS processor.
Mobile embedded systems are generally designed to provide basic processing capabilities for the device they are installed in. This can include tasks such as controlling the screen of the device or communicating with other devices using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Mobile embedded systems also contain some sort of user interface that allows users to interact with the system via touch screen displays or keypad controls.
Mobile embedded systems often include an operating system that provides services to applications running on them and manages hardware resources such as storage space, memory, etc.