Realtek is a Taiwanese manufacturer of semiconductors and integrated circuits. ICs fall into two categories: microprocessors, which lie at the heart of computers; and microcontrollers, which operate embedded systems. Realtek produces microcontrollers. One of the requirements of a microcontroller is that it can store its own operating programs. A microcontroller is rarely accessed and so it is known as an embedded system. The computers that Realtek products attach to, however, also need software to enable them to interact with the Realtek peripheral.
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There are more microcontrollers in the world than microprocessors. You are likely to come into contact with many microcontrollers without realising it. Any piece of domestic equipment that has a control panel, like a microwave, or a DVD player, will have a microcontroller inside. Cars contain a wide range of microcontollers, including controllers for the ignition system, the locking system and the entertainment system. Microcontrollers are regarded as a component of an electronic system and are not readily accessible.
A card reader does not read credit cards. It is a device for reading the memory cards of digital cameras. The card reader attaches to a PC via a cable with a USB connector. The unit is a box that contains slots where different formats of memory cards are slotted. Realtek does not make the card reader. It only makes the microcontrollers and supplies them to manufacturers of card readers.
The first type of software needed for the card reader controller is its onboard operating system and instructions. This software is loaded onto the chip by the manufacturer and so the user of a card reader will never have to program it. This software contains all the instructions needed by the card reader to access data on the memory card and transfer it, over a USB link, to the computer.
The PC needs software install in order to communicate with the card reader. This type of software is called a “driver.” Driver software is specific to the make and model of the computer and usually is provided with the card reader on a CD. If not, owners of card readers can download the driver either from the website of the card reader’s manufacturer or from the company that made their computer. Realtek does not provide drivers to the general public from its website.
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