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Before the inclusion of integrated circuits, other firmware devices included a discrete semiconductor diode matrix.
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.
Other features that may change with firmware updates include the GUI or even the battery life.
Most mobile phones have a Firmware Over The Air firmware upgrade capability for much the same reasons; some may even be upgraded to enhance reception or sound quality.