Difference Between Software and Hardware

The difference between software and hardware is that they have an intangible and tangible character, respectively.

Although both concepts need each other, they are completely different. On the one hand, the software needs the hardware to be able to execute any type of program. And, on the other hand, the hardware needs the software to be able to use any of its physical parts .

In other words, a computer or a smartphone is useless if we cannot interact with it with an operating system such as Android or iOS. In the same way, it is useless to buy one of the two operating systems if we cannot host it on a physical device.

Metaphorically we could say that the software is the muscles of the human body and the hardware is the bones, so they need each other.

Main differences between software and hardware

Each of the differences between software and hardware will be explained below:

  1. The first difference comes from the definition of each one, since on the one hand the hardware consists of that group of physical parts of a device and on the other hand the software consists of a group of lines of code that make up one or more programs.
  2. Secondly, we have the forms of interaction. While you interact physically directly with the hardware, you interact with the software indirectly through the hardware itself.
  3. Thirdly, we find that in order to have the latest version or the latest generation hardware, parts must be replaced and even a completely new device must be obtained. This does not happen so much with the software, since to get the updates it is not necessary to make any physical changes unless the hardware does not meet the minimum requirements to run the programs.
  4. As far as profession is concerned, there are two very different figures. So much so that it gives rise to two different university degrees. On the one hand, there is the university degree in computer engineering, which deals mostly with the hardware section of computers or computers at a very advanced level, while that of software is merely testimonial. On the other hand, there is the university degree in software engineering, which focuses on subjects related to the different codes and ways of programming, whether on mobile, PC or tablet, among other devices.
  5. In another order of factors, while the hardware can become obsolete, break, or damage, the software can only become obsolete if it is not updated. Therefore, in terms of accounting depreciation , hardware has a finite life while software does not necessarily have one.

And these are the five big differences between software and hardware. Although there may be more differences in a specific way, in a general way and covering both terms almost completely, these differences are the most notable to highlight.

Examples and comparison

Some examples that we can highlight in order to differentiate both terms are:

  • Screen vs Netflix app. Although the screen is the hardware, the Netflix app works in this case as the software program that allows us to see through the screen, be it mobile, PC or TV. Both are necessary to each other.
  • Camera vs Skype. The difference in this case is also that although both terms can collaborate with each other, the camera is the physical part of the device that allows the Skype software to broadcast images or videos.
  • Microprocessor vs Windows 10 Home. More of the same, but with a difference. Although the operating system is necessary as the 'soft part' (or software) of the device, the microprocessor is not only linked to this type of software, but is also the main physical axis of the entire device.
  • Graphics card vs video game. Finally, it remains to analyze the example in which they do not have to be necessary to each other. If we understand as a graphics card that which is external in nature, as a physical part it is essential in the world of video games. It may happen that sometimes the power of the microprocessor itself together with the integrated card are capable of dealing with certain video games. Therefore, the more demanding the video game, the more power the graphics card must have.

These examples cover much of the difference between hardware and software that can work with each other. We must not forget that although both terms are different, they need each other for a device to work properly.