Periodically someone tries to come up with a definition of an embedded system. For example there is an excellent and oft cited definition here. What got me thinking about this topic is the latest gadget I love to hate – my Verizon Treo phone running Windows mobile. A few years ago, there would have been no doubt that a cell phone was an embedded system. Today, the Treo, the i-Phone etc are all running versions of traditional computer operating systems, and are much more computer like than they are an embedded system. So the question is what are they – an embedded system or a computer?
Well today I offer a new simple test to tell if these devices are fish or fowl (foul is perhaps more appropriate), to wit: