What Does Device Mean?

A device is a unit of physical hardware or equipment that provides one or more computing functions within a computer system. It can provide input to the computer, accept output or both. A device can be any electronic element with some computing ability that supports the installation of firmware or third-party software.


Typical hardware includes a computer mouse, speakers, printer and microphone.

A device may also be referred to as an appliance, gadget or electronic tool.

Techopedia Explains Device

A device can be embedded in a computer or be connected outside of it, but all devices can be separately installed or replaced. That said, devices in notebook and other portable computers tend to me more integrated. There are contradictions about a device’s scope; whereas some believe the computer’s components, others say the computer is a device in and of itself. Moreover, with the advent of cloud computing and virtualization, virtual machines and other related instances are also considered devices.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…