What Is an Embedded Operating System?


Although embedded operating systems do not appear much in computers, many mobile products enjoy the benefit of such an operating system. Embedded operating systems can prove to be beneficial in some cases and a hindrance in others.


  • Computers in the 1950s began using operating systems which were programmed into their internal components. These embedded operating systems swiftly lost popularity because of the greater advantages of scalable operating systems installed on a hard disk.


  • Embedded operating systems function as a means of operation for small devices that do not have a way to install an operating system through removable media. Older and more robust embedded operating systems are used by specialized computers that are designed to perform simple tasks.



  • The major problem with embedded operating systems is that they are not scalable, meaning that they cannot be upgraded or changed easily. This is why peripheral operating systems installed by removable media became popular for personal computers.

Expert Insight

  • For the most part, embedded operating systems are pre-programmed onto a chip that can fit on one section of your thumb, if not smaller. However, they are packed with features that resemble an operating system on a PC.

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  • Photo Credit "Audrey's Open Moko phone - Image436" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: roland (Roland Tanglao) under the Creative Commons Attribution license. "TVM BSOD" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Oran Viriyincy (Oran Viriyincy) under the Creative Commons Attribution license. "computer room: view 2" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: blakespot (Blake Patterson) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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