External hardware

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External hardware is a set of physical components that are not part of the main device, but function as complementary elements to it.

The external hardware complements the devices either by making a more complete function or by improving certain aspects that the internal hardware is not capable of performing correctly. This is the case of loudspeakers, in whose choice we almost always opt for an external one rather than those that already integrates the device itself, if our objective is to gather a certain power and sound quality, for example.

In addition, the external hardware can itself be a central device, since it can in turn interact with other hardware that would act as external.

An example is headphones, which can be external if the central or main device is a PC, or they can be the main device itself if, for example, an SD memory card is attached to them. Since this would act as external storage hardware.

However, the memory card itself could not take the role of central device, so this suggests that there are two types of external hardware.

Types of external hardware

There are two types of external hardware that differ according to the number of roles it can take:

  • First of all, there are external hardware that can take on the role of both a main device and a peripheral.
  • Secondly, we have the peripheral that cannot be the main device given its physical simplicity, which means that it cannot interact with other peripherals as the main device.

Taking into account these two types, it can be seen which ones are more versatile than others in terms of usability and utility.

Examples of external hardware

Although a good example has already been mentioned at the beginning of the article, several will be exposed to have the concept as clear as possible:

  • Smartphone: Although in most cases it acts as the main device, it can also be external with other devices that fulfill a specific main function. This is the case in which we use our smartphone to broadcast a signal to the TV.
  • Smart speaker: In this device we find its role in reverse than the previous one, since it usually works as external hardware and not as the main device, and it can sometimes be.
  • Mouse: In this peripheral there is no doubt. This is pure external hardware if it is not integrated into the main device. Whether it is external or internal, it will not function as the main device except for some very specific exceptions.

In short, it can be said that depending on the complexity and degree of tasks that any external hardware can perform, it may choose, in addition to being a peripheral, to also be a central device.

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